Owners of Sports Creek Raceway say they will re-apply for race meeting license for 2020

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SWARTZ CREEK, Michigan (WJRT) - (02/07/2019) - The wait for horse racing to return to Swartz Creek just got a little longer.

On Thursday, the Michigan Gaming Control Board accepted
AmRace & Sports surrender of its 2019 race meeting license and simulcast permit for Sports Creek Raceway.

However the Director of AmRace & Sports, the corporation which purchased Sports Creek Raceway in December, said they remain committed to bringing horse racing back.

Nelson Clemmens said they plan to re-apply for the race meeting license for Sports Creek Raceway in August for the year 2020.

He said AmRace & Sports decided to take a step back from the process after Governor Snyder vetoed a package of bills at the end of the Lame Duck session that included a measure to change the state's horse racing law.

The "Advanced Deposit Wagering" bill would have allowed cell phone wagering on in-state horse races as well as out-of-state horse races that are simulcast, an important source of revenue according to Clemmens.

"That's what usually fuels the purses," he said, "and the purses are really the top of the economic model for horse racing."

Clemmens said Michigan is the only state with horse racing without advance deposit wagering. He wants to see that change.

"Our commitment remains very strong," he said,"and we're looking forward to working though this year and making good things happen to get going in 2020."

He said the renovation work will continue at Sports Creek Raceway.

Last month State Senator Dan Lauwers re-introduced his Advanced Deposit Wagering bill in Lansing:

"It's really just a change in technology, and that's really the reason I think we've seen our Michigan horse tracks really dwindling here," he explained, "because people want to use the convenience of the cell phone to do just about everything, placing a wager is no different."

Senator Lauwers said he's optimistic about his bill's passage this time around, that he's got good support on both sides of the aisle.

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