Industry officials have expressed some discomfort with a lawmaker's plan to introduce legislation that would amend the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 to provide funds for workers' compensation insurance for jockeys.
Legislation to be considered by the Indiana Senate would mandate that incoming simulcasts be made available to all wagering outlets in the state or not be available at all. The bill was reported out of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Utilities, and Public Policy Jan. 24.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's ongoing efforts in Washington, D.C. have become the major carrot as the organization seeks to sign up horsemen's associations for five-year memberships effective in 2006.
The Congressional Horse Caucus, now more than 60 members strong, said it supports efforts to stop illegal Internet gambling but said any proposed legislation must be clarified to protect legal pari-mutuel account wagering and simulcasting.
Youbet.com handled more than $3.5 million on Preakness day, May 21, up 75% from the $2 million wagered on the same day in 2003, the last year the online wagering service offered the race.
The Thoroughbred industry is lining up legal assistance in its effort to understand the ramifications of a World Trade Organization Appellate Body ruling that calls into question the fairness of the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978.
Horsemen held a brainstorming meeting Aug. 16 to discuss the ramifications of a plan by Rockingham Park to offer Thoroughbred races Sept. 5 in partnership with the New Hampshire Thoroughbred Breeding and Racing Association.
The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has refused to permit signals from Ohio racetracks to go to Indian casinos in Oklahoma, a move one Ohio racetrack official has questioned.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, in a statement released June 21, said the reworked "Combatting Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act" is "fundamentally flawed and unfair," and it also said it plans to discuss the ramifications of a move by Citibank to ban use of credit cards for online wagering.
The "Combating Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act" cleared the House Judiciary Committee June 18 after removal of provisions that permit states to legalize interstate wagering and the horseracing industry to continue business legal under the Interstate Horseracing Act.
The U. S. House Judiciary Committee continued to discuss the "Combating Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act" the week of June 10, but it should be status quo until June 20, when the measure is on the calendar again.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said May 24 that, though it is "in complete support" of protection of live racing, a proposed amendment to the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 raises "some serious questions."
A proposed amendment to the Interstate Horseracing Act would differentiate between "host" and "off-track" horsemen's groups.
In a deal that has put some horsemen's associations on edge, the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has agreed to reinstate signals from Kentucky racetracks to Tampa Bay Downs in exchange for dismissing its complaint for declaratory judgment against the Florida track.
Though horsemen's groups in various states did not vote to pull their signals from all wagering outlets in Florida in response to a stall-application denial by Tampa Bay Downs, their forces are being marshaled.
California Gov. Gray Davis signed Assembly Bill 471 into law on Aug. 13, authorizing advance deposit wagering and including provisions that will allow backstretch workers to organize for collective bargaining purposes.
Before Congress adjourned Friday, legislation clarifying the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 regarding simulcast and account wagering was passed as part of a package of appropriations bills. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act was not part of the legislation passed Friday and sent to President Clinton for his signature. The legislation, advanced by Senators Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning, both Kentucky Republicans, and Rep. Hal Rogers, also a Republican from Kentucky, was sought to address concerns that arose as part of the internet gambling prohibition bill.
A spokesman for the Gore-Lieberman 2000 campaign in Kentucky issued a statement on Friday concerning Vice President Al Gore's position on interstate off-track wagering, which has been under attack from the Clinton White House's Justice Department.
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