SWARTZ CREEK, MI — State regulators say they will ask the new owner of Sports Creek Raceway to attend a compliance conference this month in order to hear “an update on their progress and their plans.”
Mary Kay Bean, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Gaming Control Board, said in an email to MLive-The Flint Journal that the state is reviewing documents submitted by AmRace & Sports LLC to determine whether it will require further filings by the company.
Officials for AmRace and a related company — AmWest Entertainment LLC — have said they want to bring thoroughbred horse racing back to Michigan this year by reopening Sports Creek, which has been closed for four years but which still has a track that could be rehabilitated.
In October, the MGCB granted a conditional license to restart racing and allow simulcasting at the track, but the sale of the property took longer than expected and not all deadlines set by the state were met.
Just last week, the the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association issued a news release, pointing out another potential problem after former Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a bill that would have allowed cell phone wagering on horse races.
The governor’s decision made it “unclear if the proposed track (reopening) will proceed,” the MHBPA statement says.
With the veto, Snyder not only stopped House Bill 4611 — which would have amended the law covering horse racing in Michigan — he also stopped bills that would have made changes to the law regulating the three commercial casinos in the state and another that would have allowed for and regulated fantasy sports betting.
MLive-The Flint Journal could not reach AmWest officials for comment on its plans Monday, Dec. 31, or Wednesday, Jan. 2.
Sports Creek closed in January 2015 after nearly 30 years of operation — one part of a broader slump in the popularity of horse racing in Michigan.
Last month the sale of the property for an undisclosed sum was confirmed by both the seller and buyer.