Ohio HBPA Board Meeting
11:00 am, Thursday, April 18th, 2019
Ohio HBPA Main Office, Grove City, OH
President Joe Poole Directors: Susan Anderson, Bobby Cline, Doug Cowans, Jeff Jarvis, Mark Kuntz, Dick McCall, Mike Rone, Kristi Tumblin and Kim Williams
Members Unable to Attend: Robin Schuster and John Royer
Executive Director Dave Basler, OHBPA Lobbyist Tom Pappas
Call to Order/ Approval of Minutes:
President Poole called the meeting to order. After review President Poole moved and Director Cline seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the January 28th, 2019 Ohio HBPA board of directors meeting. Motion passed.
President Poole moved and Director Cline seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the March 18th, 2019 Ohio HBPA board of directors conference call. Motion passed.
President Poole discussed the recent death of a longtime backside employee and his desire to have the HBPA help with his burial expenses. After extensive discussion several members of the board agreed to privately help cover those burial expenses instead of the HBPA covering them.
Special Order of Business:
Ohio HBPA Lobbyist Tom Pappas led an extensive discussion of two state sports betting bills which had been introduced recently in Ohio. House Bill 194 which was introduced by Representative Greenspan and Senate Bill 111 which had been introduced by Senator Eklund. Pappas detailed the similarities and the differences in the bills which are each more than 100 pages long.
Pappas also went over Governor Dewine’s appointments to the Ohio State Racing Commission which had been announced earlier in the month.
Executive Director’s Report:
The executive director updated the board regarding negotiations with Belterra Park management on revising the track contract. Extensive discussion was held regarding those negotiations and the Ohio HBPA’s strategy moving forward. Due to the sensitive and ongoing nature of these negotiations no further details will be provided in these minutes.
The executive director provided recaps to the board of both the National HBPA Winter convention and the ARCI Model Rules Meetings both of which he had attended on behalf of the Ohio HBPA.
Discussion was held regarding the first horsemen’s meeting of the season at Thistledown and Belterra Park with Thursday, May 2nd at 11:00am being chosen for the first meeting at Belterra and Tuesday, May 7th at 11:00am being chosen for Thistledown.
Discussion was held regarding an export approval issue that arose last year and was again being dealt with by the executive director this spring with twinspires and xpressbet both trying to carve out many states from their approved host fee rate at half of the approved rate.
Director Williams moved and Director Jarvis seconded a motion that the executive director condition his approval of both twinspires and xpressbet such that the purse accounts at Belterra Park and Thistledown receive a minimum of 3.5% of the wagers handled through those outlets on Belterra Park and Thistledown races. Motion passed.
Purses and Wagering
Basler updated the board on the current status of the purse accounts at all three Ohio thoroughbred tracks and discussion was held regarding the numbers.
Basler went through handouts provided to the board showing VLT revenues for the state’s seven commercial racetracks informing the board that March was the highest net win total for VLT’s in their 6 year history in Ohio eclipsing the 100 million dollar mark for the first time ever. Thistledown recorded a net win of $13,036,615 up over $1,000,000 year over year and the first $13,000,000+ net win at the track since November, 2013. Mahoning Valley recorded its highest net VLT win ever in March coming in at $11,868,503. Beltera Park also recorded its highest VLT net win ever in March at $7,877,686 while the credits wagered for the month was also a record high at over $88,000,000.
Government and External Affairs
The executive director discussed the introduction of H. B. 1754 which was the reintroduction of legislation being pushed by The Jockey Club to have USADA be placed in charge of medication and other racing regulations in the US. Basler detailed that the National HBPA was already conducting meetings with legislators fighting this poorly crafted piece of legislation which fails to provide any details of how it would be funded.
Basler informed the board that Chris Baker who heads the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation had contacted him about having there next board meeting at one of our tracks and discussions were being held with Belterra Park management about having the meeting there with Friday, June 7th being the proposed date.
Benevolence, Policies and Organization
Discussion was held regarding a one page handout provided to the board which contained the OTBO’s proposed changes to 3769-5-66.
Director Williams said that based on conversations he had with several OTBO board members he did not believe the proposed changes being presented to the OHBPA board had ever been voted on by the OTBO board. No motions were made on this issue.
Discussion was held regarding a multi-page handout of the Ohio Thoroughbred Fund stakes schedule provided by the executive director. The handout contained the executive director’s proposed changes to the stakes schedule in order for there to be a Best of Ohio type program at each track each year going forward. The board has asked the executive director to make an attempt at putting together such a schedule and this handout was that attempt. Basler informed the board that after making changes to the handout on several different occasions the end version was more workable in terms of not costing horses as many opportunities in various stakes races than he had previously thought.
Basler asked the board to review the proposed schedule and have any changes they thought would be beneficial ready for discussion at the next board meeting when the board would discuss whether they wanted to further pursue this concept.
Budget and Finance
Director Jarvis updated the board on the medical trailer for Belterra Park detailing that the construction work to renovate the trailer had been completed as had the move of the trailer from his property, where the construction took place, to the track. Director Jarvis was pleased with the work done on the trailer and thought it looked very good and would be a benefit to our members at Belterra Park for years to come.
President Poole moved and Director Jarvis seconded a motion to enter into executive session. Motion passed.
Director Cline moved and Director Rone seconded a motion that Section 5. (B) of the executive director’s contract extension agreement be amended to show the intent of the board to be that the terms of termination of the executive director “without cause” prior to December 31, 2021 would lead to the executive director receiving severance pay equal to 24 months salary, on January 1st 2022 or thereafter would lead to the executive director receiving severance compensation at a rate of one-month’s pay per year of the executive directors service to the company. Motion passed with Director Williams abstaining.
Director Cline moved and Director McCall seconded a motion to adjourn. Motion passed.