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Conditional Support Offered for Compact

The National HBPA offered conditional support for a proposed racing compact.

The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has offered conditional support for the proposed National Racing Compact based on five conditions, the organization said July 25.

The National HBPA board of directors took the action during its summer convention in Minnesota.

The horsemen’s group said it will “participate in the development of such a compact as long as it is founded” on the following: implementation of rules based on industry consensus; a process by which horsemen can be heard locally and nationally; “reasonable” uniformity of rules based on industry consensus; concrete protections against unilateral rule-making; and selection of commissioners based on merit and experience.

The NRC is viewed by some as vehicle to foster more uniformity in racing regulations and perhaps help jurisdictions save costs. Others fear the compact would dictate protocol even though supporters repeatedly have said members would have an opt-out option on all proposals.

“As an organization, the National HBPA believes that an interstate racing and wagering compact could be important and beneficial to our industry as we continue efforts to better standardize rules across jurisdictions—as long as the process gives all affected parties fair representation and input,” National HBPA president and chairman Joe Santanna said in a statement. “The National HBPA will support and participate in the development of such an interstate compact as long as we have a comfort level that all participants in our industry, including horsemen, will be allowed fair and reasonable input into all decisions.”

The NRC needs six member states to be formed via legislation. Proponents are targeting the major racing states at the outset.