Efforts to maintain protection for the pari-mutuel industry continue on Capitol Hill even though it appears the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act may not come up for a vote before Congress adjourns next week. The protection could be included in any of the omnibus appropriations bills floating around Washington, D.C. those in attendance at Friday's National Thoroughbred Racing Association membership meeting were told.
Jay Hickey, president of the American Horse Council, and Tim Smith, commissioner of the NTRA, discussed legislative matters during the second day of the NTRA's annual meeting, held at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky. They outlined a fluid situation for racing in Washington, D.C., and chose not to discuss details.
"So many things are being slipped here, and so many things are being slipped there," Hickey said. "It's like Alice in Wonderland."
Smith said a major problem is an interpretation of the federal Wire Act by the Department of Justice, which has in effect called interstate simulcasting illegal. The makeup of the department is expected to change when the new administration takes over in January.
Meanwhile, plans are under way to form a horse racing caucus on Capitol for next year. "I don't think there are 10% of the members of Congress who understand this industry, and that's our fault," Smith said. "We need to educate them."