Task Force to Tackle Regulations

Thoroughbred owner-breeder and successful businessman Robert McNair has been named to chair a new National Thoroughbred Racing Association “Task Force on Regulation.” According to the NTRA, the task force will be charged with studying the impacts of economic regulation, including taxation, on the horse racing industry. The task force’s ultimate goal will be “identifying areas for reduction or improvement of such regulation,” according to the NTRA.

Other members of the task force will include Douglas Donn, chairman of Gulfstream Park and past NTRA board member; attorney Mark Fleder of New Jersey, director of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association; Rick Hiles, Kentucky-based trainer and president of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association; Robert Kaminski, chairman of Lone Star Park; F. Jack Liebau, president of Bay Meadows Racecourse; Scott Mordell, CEO of Arlington International Racecourse; and John Van de Kamp, president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California and former attorney general of California.

During its first meeting in August, the task force is expected to focus on issues such as state regulation of simulcasting and of other racetrack business operations, current taxation of pari-mutuel wagering, and potential improvements in owner licensing procedures, among others. The task force will undertake specific research projects and will meet approximately once a month, with its findings expected to be presented at the University of Arizona's Symposium on Racing in Tucson in December, according to the NTRA.

"Speaking for the NTRA board, we are very pleased that this distinguished group of industry leaders has agreed to help bring focus and clarity to this strategically important area," said NTRA commissioner Tim Smith. "Bob McNair's broad-based business perspective, proven leadership abilities, and clear commitment to our industry will be invaluable to the process."

Staffing assistance for the task force will be provided by the NTRA, which will also arrange for expert consultants to study particular areas. Pari-mutuel industry consultant Michael D. Shagan and the firm of National Economic Research Associates will assist the task force.

"Many of us in the industry feel that the topics to be addressed by this task force are of the utmost importance to our future growth and economic viability," said Task Force member Doug Donn. "A first-class study of the impacts of regulation and 'best practices' to reduce and improve regulation is highly timely as the NTRA and the industry work to define strategic priorities for the future."