Ohio HBPA Board Meeting
11:00 am, Thursday, November 15, 2018
Cornerstone Event Center, Grove City, OH
President Joe Poole Directors: Susan Anderson, Bobby Cline, Doug Cowans, Jeff Jarvis, Mark Kuntz, Mike Rone and Kim Williams
Members Unable to Attend:
Robin Schuster and Kristi Tumblin
Executive Director Dave Basler, Lobbyist Tom Pappas, OTBO Board Member John Royer
Call to Order/ Approval of Minutes:
President Poole called the meeting to order. After review Director Rone moved and President Poole seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the September 14, 2018 meeting of the OHBPA board of directors. Motion passed.
Special Order of Business:
OHPBA lobbyist Tom Pappas updated the board on the recent election results detailing a Republican sweep of all state offices including the Governor’s race and their remaining in firm control of both the House and Senate in the state.
Brief discussion was held on potential sports betting legislation in the state with Pappas stating that there is no urgency amongst the legislators to pass such legislation and it will likely be done after the budget bill is completed in June/July next year.
Executive Director’s Report:
Discussion was held regarding negotiations with Belterra Park management on revising the track contract and a new VLT revenue sharing agreement which included a handout from the executive director detailing the track’s position on training and stabling schedules in the new contract.
After extensive discussion the board established its position on the aforementioned issues which the executive director was to communicate to Belterra Park management during the next contract negotiation conference call.
The executive director and President Poole updated the board on the recent National HBPA executive committee meetings which they had both attended in Lexington with the major issues of interest covered being the proposed Federal legislation regarding medication use in race horses, immigration and the National HBPA 2019 budget.
The executive director provided a handout of an article detailing the recent sale by Jack Entertainment of their Greektown Casino property in Detroit. Basler stated that it was widely rumored in the racing and gaming industries that Jack Entertainment’s other properties which include Thistledown were also currently for sale.
Purses and Wagering
Basler updated the board on the current status of the purse accounts at all three of the states 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 detailing that Thistledown net win in October 2018 was up over 9% from the previous October with the 2018 net win figure coming in at $10,415,523 marking the ninth straight month that the track had exceeded $10,000,000 in VLT net win. Mahoning Valley had a VLT net win of $9,839,829 for October 2018 up over 4% from the previous October. Belterra Park had a VLT net win of $6,658,833 in October 2018 virtually flat from the previous year’s net win figure of $6,659,389.
Discussion was held regarding the 2019 Ohio Thoroughbred Fund and its budget.
Director Williams detailed that he thought there needed to be changes to the program going forward and gave some of his ideas including handouts regarding potential changes to the 2019 OTF stakes schedule. Many other board members expressed various thoughts about the program.
Basler detailed that the Thoroughbred Advisory Board would need a firm commitment from the OHBPA about covering any budget shortfalls in 2019 at its meeting the following week or substantial cuts would likely be made to the 2019 OTF program.
After extensive discussion Director Williams moved and President Poole seconded a motion that the Ohio HBPA fund any shortfalls from the Industry Initiative Fund to maintain the 2019 Ohio Thoroughbred Fund program under the same conditions as 2018 provided that the expenses for Administrative, Advertising/Trophies, and Promotions/Research categories do not exceed 2018 levels. Motion passed with Director Jarvis voting no.
Benevolence, Policies and Organization
Following up from the actions taken by the board at its September meeting there were three candidates who submitted their election packets for the owner only positions on the OHBPA board of directors to the executive director in a timely manner.
Two of those candidates; John Royer and Dr. George Sikura submitted a waiver request to the board as both are currently members of the OTBO board of directors.
President Poole moved and Director Cline seconded a motion to grant waivers to both candidates who currently serve on the OTBO board of directors. Motion passed.
A written ballot was passed out and collected by the executive director with John Royer and Dick McCall being elected to serve four year terms on the board and Dr. Sikura being chosen to serve as alternate on the board for the next two years.
Government and External Affairs
John Royer made a presentation to the board on behalf of the OTBO in the absence of that organization’s executive director which included a handout detailing two potential rule changes which the OTBO was considering proposing to the Thoroughbred Advisory Board. The proposed changes involved allowing mares which are purchased at sales after the current August 15th residency requirement to still produce an Ohio registered foal. The board took no action on the presentation materials.
Budget and Finance
Director Jarvis discussed the THHF Retirement Assistance Fund and ways that he felt the current program in place could be improved.
The executive director detailed that the funding to pay Chaplain Smith’s salary for the meeting at Mahoning Valley needed to be approved.
President Poole moved and Director Rone seconded a motion that the Ohio HBPA make a $12,000 contribution from the Industry Initiative Fund to the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America program to help compensate Chaplain Smith for his work at Mahoning Valley from October, 2018 through April, 2019. Motion passed.
Following a request from the executive director, Director Cline moved and Director Anderson seconded a motion that the OHBPA provide a $1,000 sponsorship from the Industry Initiative Fund to the NTRA Regulatory Vet Conference where best practices for regulatory vets were to be detailed and discussed. Motion passed.
The board reviewed and discussed personal benevolence requests.
Director Anderson moved and Director Cline seconded a motion to grant a benevolence request in the amount of $1,500 to help cover the funeral costs for the wife of a former member. Motion passed with Director Jarvis voting no.
Director Jarvis moved and Director Rone seconded a motion that the executive director be authorized by the board to open Banksafe and/or Banksafe Premium accounts at Fifth Third Bank to be used for holding purse account funds from the tracks in order to receive an interest rate of over 2% as compared to the current interest rates of less than 0.25% currently being earned on those accounts in Fifth Third money market accounts. Motion passed.
Extensive discussion was held regarding a 22 page written proposal to conduct an Ohio Horse Racing Economic Impact study from Cummings Associates & Civic Economics which included add ons for analysis of sports betting, historical trends, upgrades to competition from other states and the potential impacts of the addition of table games at Ohio tracks.
Director Jarvis moved and Director Cline seconded a motion to provide one half of the funding (other half from the OHHA) for the study plus all add ons as well as an update of the main study numbers in 2022 at a price not to exceed $75,000 from the Industry Initiative Fund. Motion passed.
Extensive discussion was held regarding the proposed 2019 Ohio HBPA budget which was passed by the Budget and Finance committee for board consideration and provided to the board in a five page handout which also included additional pages detailing the added costs of an additional employee for the HBPA in 2019 and separately the added costs of moving the Ohio HBPA main office location to a property on Gateway Circle in Grove City which the board members had taken a walking tour of during lunch break of this board meeting.
Director Jarvis moved and President Poole seconded a motion to accept the 2019 proposed budget with the changes for the moving of the OHBPA main office added. Motion passed.
Director Jarvis moved and Director Williams seconded a motion that the executive director advise the OHBPA’s Investment Advisor UBS’s David D’Herete to invest $250,000 currently in the Ohio HBPA’s checking account in accordance with the OHBPA’s Code of Regulations investment policies. Motion passed.
Discussion was held regarding the date of the next Ohio HBPA board of directors meeting with the board selecting Thursday, January 10, 2019 for the next meeting date.
Director Cowans moved and Director Rone seconded a motion to adjourn. Motion passed.