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Veto may deal serious blow to Michigan's horse racing industry

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s horse racing industry may be on the brink of collapse.   

Governor Snyder used a pocket veto to kill a bill that would have expanded betting options at Michigan’s four horse racing tracks.   The governor was concerned the bill was unconstitutional. 

Brett Boyd is the president of the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association.   He says the governor’s veto is a serious blow to Michigan’s ailing horse racing industry.

“We do have a lot to offer Michigan…we just need to be given a fighting chance,” says Boyd, “If we lose those racing opportunities….and lose that revenue…then the snowball is really going to move down the ill even faster than it is currently.”

Boyd still hopes the state racing commission could authorize the new betting options. But he says that would only happen with the governor’s approval.

Boyd says, without new betting revenues, race tracks in Mt. Pleasant and near Flint may now have to close this year.  Boyd says the two tracks have struggled with declining revenues. 

Boyd blames competition from online gaming websites for siphoning off business from Michigan’s horse tracks.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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