10/16/2009 12:00AM

Michigan approves slots effort


A petition drive to allow casino-type gambling at Pinnacle Race Course and four other Michigan tracks won approval from the state canvassing board on Wednesday. A group known as Racing to Save Michigan, based at Hazel Park Harness Raceway, will now be allowed to circulate petitions in order to place their initiative on the 2010 ballot. They will have 180 days to collect 380,126 signatures.

The proposal would allow eight new casinos, including "racinos" at Pinnacle, Hazel Park, and three other tracks. Detroit now has three casinos, and there are 23 Native American casinos in the state. Voters in 2004 approved a measure to prevent additional gaming in the state, but it exempted the existing casinos, while preventing racetracks from offering nonparimutuel wagering.

The tracks would still have to seek approval from local voters. The three additional licenses would be auctioned by the state.