Archive for July, 2017

Nothing Is Secret

Friday, July 21st, 2017

(Editor’s note: Served as a Member of the WV Racing Commission from February, 2013 until January 31, 2017 when Governor Justice replaced me after taking office.)

The West Virginia Racing Commission will again make their meetings available via conference call. Chairman Jack Rossi deserves a vote of thanks from the horseman, track officials and this blog.  He stepped up and corrected the elimination meeting conference calls.

This was a convenient means of communication between the commission and its constituents.  The racing industry needed to know what the Commissioners were discussing at their meetings.  Conference calls were a cost effective way to accomplish that objective.

Racing Commissioners are now owed the respect of those participating by conference call. Callers must put their phones on mute as past meetings were disrupted by barking dogs and other unneeded noises.  The Commission is conducting important business which impacts a challenged industry.

The WV Racing Commission was not trying to “hide” anything. They were seeking a quite decision making environment.

(PS – It begins again today at 2PM. To connect 312..757.3111 with access code 638912285.  Remember be quite.)


“Be Prepared”

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

Last week the U. S. Supreme Court  said it will hear New Jersey’s appeal to legalize sports betting. West Virginia Governor Justice, Members of the Legislature and the racing industry needs to “Be Prepared.”

Phil Kabler has an encouraging story in today’s Gazette-Mail. Of course, everything at this point is speculation.  However, revenue potential is out there if WV gets ahead of the Border States as it did with the Lottery.

Governor Justice and the Legislature need to do something similar to a Maryland proposal. West Virginia needs to  establish a working group to monitor the recent developments, study how sports’ betting was implemented in other states; and recommend changes needed to facilitate sports betting in West Virginia and offer a beginning point for revenue allocation.

The allocation of potential revenue is where the racing industry comes in.

Horse & greyhound owners, trainers, breeders and Jockeys need to develop a strategy. There should not be a Charles Town, Mountaineer, Mardi Gras or Wheeling Island strategy but an industry wide one.   It needs to address research, planning, and relationship building, messaging, fund raising and political engagement.

It can no longer be business as usual for government leaders. The racing industry needs to come together.  Fresh thinking and an open mind to doing new things will be required.