New York Moving Forward on Adding Threshold Standards

State takes first step on thresholds for detomidine, omeparazole, and xylazine.

State regulators in New York are moving to add several drugs to race-day threshold standards in order to be in sync with national model rules of the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

The state's Gaming Commission April 24 took the first step in adopting thresholds for three drugs: detomidine, omeparazole, and xylazine. The agency's board also followed ACRI's move in expanding the equine drug threshold list for what it called four "routine therapeutic medications." They are cetirizine, cimetidine, and ranitidine—used as antihistamines—and guaifenesin, a muscle relaxant.

Robert Williams, the agency's executive director, told the Gaming Commission's board that the changes are occurring because of new research pertaining to the drugs and to keep New York's equine drug rules consistent with emerging national standards.

"The amended and newly proposed thresholds are consistent with New York's existing restricted time periods. Trainers who comply with such restricted time periods will be assured of not violating such thresholds," the agency's counsel, Edmund Burns, said in a March 21 letter to the board advising the panel of the agency staff’s support for the changes.

The rule affects "per se" equine drug thresholds, which state that a horse is considered to be in violation of regulations if any of more than two dozen drugs are found to be present in race-day urine or blood samples.

The proposed rule now goes through a comment period and still needs final adoption in the months ahead.

The Gaming Commission board April 24 also gave preliminary approval to an effort to consolidate the state’s different efforts to permit people with gambling problems to "self-exclude" themselves from places where they can wager. The state has different self-exclusion rules for wagering on parimutuel, commercial casinos, and racetrack-based racinos.

Under the self-exclusion proposal, a gambler must request to be denied entry to places that accept wagers and state if the exclusion period should be for a lifetime or set number of years. The person would, during the period, be denied any gambling winnings if they did make it into a casino or racetrack and would be subject to trespassing charges if found in a gambling parlor.

The proposed rule would replace existing Thoroughbred wagering self-exclusion regulations with a single statewide rule affecting all places where bets are offered. It also requires that any place that takes telephone wagers on horse racing come up with procedures to permit self-exclusion by problem gamblers. The outlets, such as tracks and off-track betting parlors, would be required to permit people on the self-exclusion list to also set daily or weekly limits on how much they can wager.