An order was entered on Thursday that sets Sept. 24, 2018, as the hearing date for the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association's lawsuit challenging the validity of the summer jai alai permit given to Calder in February of this year.
The issue in the case, styled the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, Inc. v. State of Florida, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Parimutuel Wagering Case No. 18-4448RU, is whether the Division's approval of Calder Race Course Inc.'s summer jai alai permit constitutes an unadopted rule. The case will be heard by an Administrative Law Judge.
Calder, a division of Churchill Downs, Inc., is seeking to present jai alai matches in lieu of one of its current statutory obligations of presenting live Thoroughbred horse racing to maintain its casino license.
An earlier filed lawsuit by the FHBPA challenges the renewal of Calder's casino license following its demolition of the Calder grandstand. The state first issued the casino license to Calder, with FHBPA assistance, based, in part, on the proximity of the newly constructed casino facility to the Calder grandstand, with proceeds meant to supplement purses at Calder.
Calder's casino currently provides year-round purse supplements to the horsemen racing at Gulfstream Park and the meet at Calder which Gulfstream contractually operates as Gulfstream Park West. The current contract for those purse supplements expires December 31, 2020.
The grandstand that housed the parimutuels is no longer there, zero parimutuel activity occurs at Calder for 10 months of the year and bets are only taken on the live product during the two-month Gulfstream Park West meet. A trial in the older case was held earlier this year and a decision is still pending.
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