Oregon Racing Commission Latest to Rejoin RCI

The Oregon Racing Commission is the latest pari-mutuel regulatory agency to rejoin the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Since July, Maryland, New York, and Virginia have reinstated membership.

The Oregon panel voted Oct. 21 to rejoin RCI effective Jan. 1, 2005. Oregon was quite active in the 1997 formation of the North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators Association when a group of jurisdictions resigned from RCI.

"We'd like to thank NAPRA for its valuable past contributions, and wish it well," ORC chairman Steve Walters said in a statement. "All that being said, we do believe it is the best interest of racing in Oregon and the industry as a whole to make a membership switch over to RCI at this time."

RCI president Lonny Powell, who once served as president of Multnomah Greyhound Park near Portland, Ore., said RCI would now have "100% member representation along the entire West Coast."

In a release, RCI chairman Frank Zanzuccki, executive director of the New Jersey Racing Commission, said RCI looks forward to "the very real possibility of additional new members coming over to RCI in the months ahead."

RCI and NAPRA were seriously considering a merger earlier this year, but it didn't pan out during their first and perhaps last joint convention, which was held in New Orleans. NAPRA recently hired Paul Bowlinger, formerly executive director of the North Dakota Racing Commission, to serve as its first full-time executive director.

Bowlinger replaced Frank Lamb, who handled NAPRA business while also serving as executive director of racing in Wyoming. NAPRA has indicated it plans to move forward with the hiring of a full-time executive director and may take other administrative steps.

RCI said it now accounts for more than 70% of total handle generated and a similar percentage of licenses issues on an annual basis.