Horseracing Act Amendment Deals With Horsemen

A proposed amendment to the Interstate Horseracing Act would differentiate between "host" and "off-track" horsemen's groups. The amendment, called the "Live Horseracing Protection Act of 2002" according to the bill, was introduced by Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey.

The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 governs interstate wagering. It was amended in late 2000 to protect existing practices in the pari-mutuel wagering business at a time when unregulated Internet gambling is under fire. The racing industry has pushed hard to protect account wagering, which is a current practice.

The act governs simulcasting, which now makes the majority of handle in the United States. Racetracks and horsemen's groups figure in the equation when it comes to simulcast contracts; Pallone's amendment would differentiate between a host horsemen's association (the signal exporter) and an off-track horsemen's association (the signal importer).

In New Jersey, Thoroughbred horsemen have battled with the state Sports and Exposition Authority over live racing dates. Horsemen believe live racing needs protection, and the proposed Interstate Horseracing Act amendment would give them authority when it comes to signals brought into New Jersey tracks.