SNL Financial Founder Reid Nagle Voices Opposition to Florida Horse Racing Decoupling

Before he started training Thoroughbred race horses in Florida five years ago, Reid Nagle had spent more than 30 years in the world of high finance.  In 1987 he founded SNL Financial, the premier multi-industry business intelligence service that caters to Wall Street and public companies worldwide.  Starting with four employees and a small office in Hoboken, New Jersey, today SNL has 3,300 employees, offices in 4 continents and was just sold last month to McGraw-Hill Financial for $2.25 billion.

00000KaylaYea1
Currently, Nagle has 20 horses in training, split between Oak Ridge Equine Training Center in Morriston and Gulfstream Park.  He operates a high-end barn rental operation at Oak Ridge, and owns the largest manure removal and shavings delivery company serving the Ocala area—All-In Shavings and Removal. These rapidly growing horse-related enterprises collectively have 35 full-time employees in Florida.

Humble and soft-spoken, Nagle loves Florida and loves to train his Thoroughbreds here.  But Nagle’s love for the Sport of Kings was why he’s stepping up and voicing his objection to any legislative consideration of “decoupling”–a misguided plan he agrees will trash horse racing in Florida, and forcing him to export horses and jobs to more horse-racing friendly states.

“Decoupling casinos from horse racing will cripple our businesses,” he explained from his Central Florida operation.  “Opposing it is a no-brainer.”

“I’d very likely have to race my horses elsewhere,” he said, “because, at that point, Florida just won’t be able to compete effectively with the many other states that have kept the linkage between casino gambling and horse racing. Our other horse-related businesses would shrink dramatically as well.”

Florida horse racing industry officials have sounded the alarm at the recent surge of legislative interest in “decoupling,” which would effectively expand gambling by immediately creating stand-alone casinos and eliminating Florida’s competitive edge in attracting horse racing business from other states.

“Florida seems committed to doing anything and everything imaginable to compete with other states for business, and now some misguided legislators are considering changes that would cripple the State’s robust horse racing industry that attracts tourists and provides employment to tens of thousands of workers.” Nagle said.

Advertisements

General Bondi’s Action on Gretna Racing Slot Machine Ruling Cheered by Florida’s Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners and Trainers

In response to the news that Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has requested a full-court rehearing of a recent ruling allowing slot machines at Gretna Racing LLC, Florida’s Thoroughbred racehorse owners and trainers agreed that, without such intervention, the result of allowing the earlier decision to stand would indeed be a “jaw-dropping gambling expansion.”

000b6trwuFevstZa4Ri1uItOzb2lH5OPCmBv8NpJLoXBto

Representing more than 6,000 horsemen statewide, Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA) President Bill White reminded that, during the span of December 2011 to January 2012, Gretna Racing LLC leveraged “pari-mutuel barrel racing” to convince the Gadsden County Commission to hold a slot referendum on January 31, 2012.

Other pari-mutuel permit holders followed suit, basing their actions on various convolutions of horse-related events designed as work-arounds to Florida law, which requires two years worth of live horse racing as a prerequisite to licensing for card rooms or slot machines.

In 2013, it was adjudicated that “pari-mutuel barrel racing” was not even real barrel racing, but wrongly approved as a new gambling product by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering with no legislative authorization, regulatory hearings or public input.

The most recent developments in the Gretna Racing matter have led horsemen to question whether a slot license legally can, or should be granted to the North Florida pari-mutuel permitholder, or any similar permitholder that has used horse-related events in a manner that has precluded the creation of jobs, businesses and positive economic benefit that would normally come with accredited horse racing and breeding operations.

The FHBPA and its colleagues, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, and the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, have strongly objected to the use of questionable horse-related events like “flag dropping” and “pari-mutuel barrel racing” in lieu of horse racing–heretofore unheard-of events that have been allowed to serve as the pari-mutuel basis for licensing of 365-day cardrooms, simulcasting or efforts to secure slot machines.

“If accredited horse racing would have been required in these locations, their local communities could have created far more jobs, businesses and economic impact,” White explained.  “For this reason, we urge General Bondi to strive to preserve one of Florida’s foremost economic generators–its world-renowned Thoroughbred horse racing industry, as well as its rapidly growing American Quarter Horse Racing industry.”

“This is a good opportunity to remind our policymakers that the purpose of state-sanctioned gambling is to increase tax revenues and economic impact, not to create the optimal atmosphere for out-of-state casinos or otherwise untaxed profits,” White noted.

Horse Racing and Related Proposed Rules Published Today by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering

00RBR

Following the May 2013 rulings on “pari-mutuel barrel racing” the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering published proposed rules partially relating to horse racing today, June 30, 2015.  The proposed Rules appear to be revised from a similar set originally published two years ago.

To view today’s two sets of proposed Rules, click here and here.

“Florida’s professional horsemen are in the process of evaluating the proposed Rules and how they differ from the former set promulgated for an October 16, 2013 hearing,” said Bill White, President of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which represents over 6,000 Thoroughbred racehorse owners and trainers statewide.  “We clearly have some concerns with what we’ve initially evaluated.”

Upheld twice on appeal, the ruling in the “pari-mutuel barrel racing” litigation put an end to pari-mutuel barrel racing at both Gretna Racing LLC and Hamilton Downs, yet those two facilities received licenses from the State of Florida to conduct “flag drop racing,” an activity that is inconsistent with both the 2013 ruling and today’s proposed Rules.

Since the “pari-mutuel barrel racing” ruling, other Florida pari-mutuel permitholders have conducted non-traditional horse-related activities that remain unsanctioned by the Florida Quarter Horse RacingAssociation—the Florida Chapter of the American Quarter Horse Association.  At this time, the only legitimate American Quarter Horse Racing taking place in the State of Florida has been at Hialeah Park and Ocala Breeders’ Sales.

“Gretna 5.0” Gambling Creep Could Come To Debary, Florida

0image00

Carrying with it the suspected possibility of continuing the recent gambling creep in Florida via unsanctioned horse-related events, a “land use change” that professional Florida horsemen fear could actually be “Gretna 5.0” is on the Debary City Council agenda today.

Representing Thoroughbred and accredited Quarter Horse racehorse owners, trainers and breeders statewide, Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association President Bill White and Vice President Tom Cannell will be on hand to appear before the Debary City Council in Volusia County with the hope of conveying the devastating toll taken on Florida’s lucrative horse racing industry by spurious horse events posing as fronts for cardrooms and even slot machines.

“A real horse racing meet requires thousands of horses and nearly three times the employees to care for them,” White explained.  “We are highly concerned that the connections of Debary Real Estate Holdings are not planning to hold real horse racing.   Unfortunately, without ensuring legitimate racing operations from the outset of the proposed project, the Debary and Volusia County economy will not ever be able to realize the far-reaching commensurate benefits that real horse racing and breeding can bring.”

The Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, the only organization that can sanction legitimate Quarter Horse racing in Florida, confirmed that it has not been contacted by Debary Real Estate Holdings, which has direct connections to Gretna Racing, Inc., the same pari-mutuel permitholder that attempted to legalize “pari-mutuel barrel racing.”

“The proposal behind today’s ‘land use change’ request will not bring more jobs, more green space, more economic impact or more revenue without accredited horse racing,” White explained.  “For each spurious pari-mutuel permit that is allowed to operate, Florida forfeits a large piece of its horse racing industry at a critical time when the need to create jobs is at its most urgent.”

To access the May 6 Debary City Council agenda, click here.

The FHBPA represents over 6,000 Thoroughbred racehorse owners and trainers who do business in the state of Florida.   The organization works closely with the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association on regulatory and legislative issues.

Recent news coverage by Mark Harper of the Daytona Beach News-Journal on the Debary Real Estate Holdings issue: