RCI Board Endorses Compact Plan for Racing

A national compact has been endorsed as a means to facilitate racing regulation.

The Association of Racing Commissioners International has endorsed creation of an interstate compact it claims could “end the fractional regulation of racing in the United States” and “centralize racing rule-making in the United States.”

The organization said Aug. 21 its board of directors supports the compact plan, which would make it easier to adopt uniform regulations around the country. It would require legislative action in each state similar to the way some states adopted a compact on national licensing, which had limited success.

“In a practical sense, this uses the existing powers of the states to reorganize how certain regulatory decisions are made without creating an additional layer of oversight that would prove costly to all industry participants,” RCI president Ed Martin said in a statement.  “In essence, this can become the National Racing Commission that some have advocated, while recognizing the fact that individual states have the ultimate authority in these matters.

“This marks a willingness of state regulators to act collectively on certain matters.”

The issue has been on the table for several years as an alternative to federal regulation of horse racing. Martin said the national compact would take time to implement state by state but is a means to facilitate uniform regulation and protect the rights of each state to oversee racing.

The concept thus far has met with no public opposition but hadn't been endorsed until RCI took action. RCI has been working with the Council of State Governments National Center for Interstate Compacts for the past 18 months.

“All industry groups will maintain their ability to be involved in the rule-making process and to have their positions heard and considered,” Martin said.

The legal authority to form interstate compacts is contained in the U.S. constitution. States have used the authority to address matters that have multi-state impact, Martin said.

Martin said the RCI Model Rules Committee will look at pending New York legislation that includes related language and attempt to build consensus. “The quickest way to accomplish this is for the industry and its regulators in a particular state to be on the same page so the legislative proposal is non-controversial and can pass in a timely manner,” he said.