"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
The cronyism in their day to day business model is bad enough. Their assault on the rule of law was even worse. Finally, the Texas Racing Commission steps back from the brink:
The Texas Racing Commission has voted to repeal its endorsement of historical racing terminals, the controversial machines that led to a fierce political fight with prominent state legislators.Lt. Governor Patrick released the following statement:
This ends a more than yearlong fight over the authority to add new gaming machines at horse and dog tracks.
The horse racing industry and some commissioners have clashed with the Legislative Budget Board over historical racing, also known as Instant Racing, in which machines show video replays of old races with identifying information removed. The board, which includes influential legislators, said the machines would be an illegal expansion of gambling. The commission and the industry disagreed.
The standoff led to a temporary cutoff of an important portion of the agency’s funding last year. The commission and all Texas tracks closed for a day before a temporary compromise was reached. The budget board continues to control a piece of the commission’s budget.
But there have been concerns that another shutdown would be imminent if historical racing weren’t repealed. Commission officials had already warned tracks that its full funding ends in February and to prepare for closure March 1.
The commission was scheduled to vote on historical racing Feb. 9, but a Texas Greyhound Association lawsuit and its temporary restraining order blocked that action.
A hearing on the restraining order was scheduled for Thursday morning in Brownsville, but the plaintiffs withdrew it.
That gave the commission an opportunity to vote for a third time on repealing historical racing. Two previous votes failed.
Commissioners approved historical racing last year but no machines were installed. At least two lawsuits challenged the machines, and one judge ruled that commissioners didn’t have the authority to approve historical racing.
A coalition of horse racing interests is trying to intervene and appeal that judge’s decision. Horse racing backers were concerned that repealing historical racing would undercut the appeal effort.
AUSTIN – I support today's action by the Texas Racing Commission to repeal its rules for historical racing in Texas.
As a state district court has ruled, only the Texas legislature can approve any expansion of gambling.
With this issue now behind us, I look forward to sitting down with responsible members of the horse racing industry to discuss the future of horse racing in Texas.