RCI Circulating Draft of Model Wagering Rules

The Association of Racing Commissioners International is circulating a draft overhaul of model rules governing wagering that would require, among other things, validation of all wagers by the host racetrack and transparency of all wagering activity to regulators.

RCI, which along with the North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators Association formed one agency of regulators earlier this year, is moving quickly on the wagering security front. Late last year it formed RCI Integrity Services, which will create and oversee a wagering database for a handle-based fee.

In a Feb. 15 release, RCI president Ed Martin said the proposed wagering rules, covered in a 49-page document, would allow the pari-mutuel industry to adapt to a changing business model. The draft includes detailed rules for all wagering entities, including domestic account-wagering providers.

"We have a responsibility to racing fans to ensure the security and integrity of each and every wager made," Martin said in a statement. "We seek to require each wagering entity to monitor its pools and to participate in a national monitoring system by regulators to investigate potential illegal activity that could cheat the bettors and undermine the participants (of pari-mutuel sports)."

RCI chairman Timothy "Ted" Connors, who serves as chairman of the New Hampshire Pari-Mutuel Regulatory Agency, said the model rules should be ready for adoption March 28 when RCI holds model rules committee meeting in conjunction with its annual convention near Albuquerque, N.M.

The draft of the wagering document includes the following parameters:

--Requires national licensing of tote company employees through the National Racing Compact, which already licenses participants such as owners, trainers, and jockeys.

--Ensures that timely information is provided to bettors.

--Requires all wagers to be secure and validated by the host facility.

--Requires special reporting requirements to deter money-laundering activity.

--Improves reporting of irregular activity.

--Creates requirements for the use of "stored value instruments."

--Requires secondary pari-mutuel operations to open their books and customer records to review by regulators.

--Requires licensing and background reviews of SPMOs.

--Requires full transparency to regulators of all wagering activity.

Copies of the proposed model rules are available at www.arci.com or www.ua-trip.org. RCI officials said written comments should be mailed to Racing Commissioners International, attention Model Rules, 2343 Alexandria Drive, Suite 200, Lexington, KY, 40504.

Release of the RCI proposal is the latest development in wagering security. RCI officials are in discussion with National Thoroughbred Racing Association officials on wagering security issues; the NTRA board of directors has proposed a national Office of Wagering Integrity, and is expected to again discuss the plan when it meets in early March.

Meanwhile, the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, with the Thoroughbred Racing and Protective Bureau under its umbrella, is increasing its funding to the TRPB for wagering security.