The PA Gaming Control Board (PGCB) and the PA Department of Agriculture are hosting our fair state's first ever Race Track Gaming Expo today to "highlight a successful first year of racetrack gaming and slots in the Commonwealth."
A recent Blood-Horse article hints that another purpose of the Expo is to educate legislators about racing. And it sounds like this sort of education may be necessary: Melinda Tucker, PGCB director of racetrack gaming, says that some lawmakers think the horsemen are track employees, rather than independent contractors.
I think it's worth noting that. by my calculations, nearly 20% of the Thoroughbred Blogger Association resides in Pennsylvania. The Keystone State has more representation than Kentucky, California, or even that state that's home to the Big A, a Triple Crown race, and some darn Spa. And maybe there's a correlation between all these talkative bloggers and this:
Pennsylvania is believed to be the only state in which the gaming control board has a dedicated individual who works closely with the racing industry and makes sure gaming law provisions related to racing are followed. (Blood-Horse)I think this means a position dedicated to the racing industry, but even if it only means the Ms. Tucker is really committed to her job, it's still pretty cool.
But back to the Racetrack Gaming Expo. Despite the event's focus on legislator educating, the good folks behind the Expo have tried to include some attractions for fans. According to the PGCB press release:
"A unique display on Pennsylvania-bred horse racing legend Smarty Jones, and scheduled appearances by jockey Vladimir Diaz, a star of the ESPN movie “Ruffian” and Michael Jester, owner of Penn Ridge Farm where 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Real Quiet will stand for the 2008 breeding season, are among the highlights of Pennsylvania’s first Race Track Gaming Expo."When: January 30, 2008; 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where: East Wing Rotunda of the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg.
The Expo is free to the public, and no registration is necessary -- so hey, if you're in the state capital, go horse around at lunchtime!