Horse Council Urgently Seeks Industry Response on Internet Bill

Interstate simulcasting and telephone and Internet wagering on horse races will come under attack again if U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon, a Republican from Utah, introduces an amendment that would remove horse racing provisions from an Internet gambling bill sponsored by Virginian Republican Bob Goodlatte.

The American Horse Council has alerted its members of the dangers of the amendment, which may be introduced today or Thursday. The AHC is distributing a "draft letter" and a list of fax numbers for members of the House Judiciary Committee, urging them to contact committee members and voice their opposition to the Cannon amendment.

The bill, the Combating Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act (H.R. 3215), would prohibit wagering on the Internet but permit the continuation of activities that the horse racing industry has been conducting under federal and state law for many years. Cannon's amendment would remove the provisions offered in Section 1084(f) of the bill, better known as the Wire Act. Prior to Cannon's anticipated amendment, the bill excludes from its gambling prohibitions pari-mutuel racing activities allowed under the Interstate Horseracing Act.

In its "draft letter," the AHC points out that racing and breeding in the U.S. involves 725,000 horses, one million participants, has a total economic impact of $34 billion and supports 472,800 full-time jobs. It also expresses its opposition to unauthorized and unregulated gambling in any form, including the Internet.

Cannon's home state of Utah does not conduct pari-mutuel horse racing and is one of just two states that has no legal gambling.

House Judiciary Committee Website