11/10/2011 12:23PM

Florida approves parimutuel betting for barrel-racing facility

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MIAMI – The Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering last month approved an application by Gretna Racing LLC to conduct parimutuel barrel racing at its facility in the town of Gretna, Fla. The meet is scheduled to open on Dec. 1 and extend into 2012, paving the way for a year-round poker room and potentially a slot-machine facility at the property.

Gretna Racing is a partnership between the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and developer David Romanik. The town of Gretna, located in the Florida panhandle about 25 miles west of Tallahassee, has a population of fewer than 3,000.

The decision by the state’s wagering panel has raised the ire of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, the Florida Quarter Horse Association, and the Florida Standarbreds Association, all of whom maintain that parimutuel barrel racing is not authorized under state law.