By TD Thornton
The current and former owners of Belterra Park have filed a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit by the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (OHBPA) seeking to recoup more than $ 2.7 of gambling revenue the OHBPA provided claims the route was wrongly withheld between 2014 and 2018.
According to a petition for dismissal filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (Eastern Division) on February 16, the defendants allege that “OHBPA has made no viable claims against defendants. OHBPA’s skilfully flagged allegations are nothing more than an attempt to invoke the fact that there is no private right of action under applicable Ohio law or ordinance. Quite simply, OHBPA has no right to receive the catch-up payments and only the racing committee is authorized to enforce them [the relevant state codes] and the resolution. “
As early as December 18, the OHBPA lawsuit alleged that Belterra had a difference of four years between a placeholder tariff, which was first set for VLT (Video Lottery Terminal) games, and the ultimately revised tariff, which was 2,769,652 US dollar amounts, never made good.
“The OHBPA has been deprived of these funds, which directly benefit horse breeding and horse racing in Ohio,” claimed the OHBPA in its lawsuit (which is explained in more detail here).
On Tuesday, the defendants put forward a four-plank argument in favor of dismissing the lawsuit:
“Firstly, OHBPA has no right to the payments made under the relevant statutory or official system, and even if this is the case, it has no private right of action to enforce the law or regulation. Although OHBPA tries to enforce the laws and regulations as unauthorized acts, these claims fail.
Second, the applicable law, rules and resolution governing the payment of the VLT
Commission percentages to the equestrian associations are not retroactive. Therefore,
contrary to an express contract and a legal and regulatory authority of racing
Commission, OHBPA calls on this court to order the defendants to go back in time and pay
OHBPA additives for the period between May 1, 2014 and July 1, 2018. Quite simply, OHBPA is not entitled to additional payments and has no authority to bring this action.
Third, because OHBPA has no right to own the payments that the defendants keep
This payment cannot be illegal, which is why the right to conversion fails.
“Ultimately, OHBPA’s claim to unjust enrichment fails because (a) there is an express contract on the same subject that excludes the right to unjust enrichment, (b) OHBPA has not granted the defendants any benefit and (c) the non-defendants payment of the alleged additional VLT
Commission payments are not “unfair” as OHBPA is not entitled to these payments. The defendants have paid all amounts that are required to be paid and distributed under Ohio law. For this reason, the defendants respectfully request the court to reject OHBPA’s complaint. “
Belterra Park itself is named as a defendant, as is the current owner / operator of the Racino, the Boyd Gaming Corporation. Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. (which, according to the lawsuit, belonged to Belterra between 2011 and 2018) and Penn National Gaming, Inc. (which, according to the 2018 lawsuit, had a brief stake in Belterra) are also listed as defendants.