Michigan horsemen are waking up Friday disappointed as it was announced Thursday night that Gov. Rick Snyder will not sign a bill that would have allowed Instant Racing machines at the state's racetracks. The bill had been passed earlier by the state House and Senate and was awaiting the governor's signature, but on the eve of the Jan. 11 deadline it was announced the bill would be "pocket vetoed"--meaning that without the signature it will expire and not become law.
According to reports, Gov. Snyder believes the bill--which would have allowed the slot-like machines where bettors wager on historical races selected at random--is likely unconstitutional without the approval of state and local voters. Michigan voters in 2004 approved a constitutional amendment that requires gaming expansion to receive approval by state and local voter, with the three downtown Detroit casinos and the Indian casinos exempt.
While supporters of the Instant Racing bill don't believe the measure would not have required voter approval, Snyder's signature likely would have triggered legal challenges.
Only four racetracks are currently in operation in Michigan: Standardbred sites Hazel Park, Northville Downs, Sports Creek Raceway and the mixed-breed Mount Pleasant Meadows.