Texas Racing Commission Threatens To Shut Down Racing Over HISA Oversight - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Texas Racing Commission Threatens To Shut Down Racing Over HISA Oversight

The Texas Racing Commission has said pari-mutuel wagering will not be conducted at Texas racetracks on live or simulcast wagering if the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority asserts control over regulatory supervision on July 1, 2022, as scheduled.

The Paulick Report obtained a copy of a May 20 letter to HISA chief executive officer Lisa Lazarus from Amy F. Cook, executive director of the Texas Racing Commission, in which Cook asked to be provided “specific dates, races, and horses that the Authority intends to regulate … within the jurisdiction of Texas.”

Cook cited the Texas Racing Act in stating that “no pari-mutuel wagering is permitted for live or simulcast export wagering for races our Commission does not supervise. Accordingly, there will be no such pari-mutuel wagering or simulcast wagering in Texas on those dates which the Authority asserts jurisdiction.”

Cook said if Lazarus does not notify the Texas Racing Commission of HISA's intentions, “the agency will assume the Authority does not intend to assert jurisdiction and to regulate scheduled Texas 'covered horseraces' pursuant to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.”

Cook said “uncertainty created by your lack of communication,” impaired the commission and racetracks from planning races.

“My expectation is that you will extend to me the professional courtesy of notifying me in writing of your private entity's intentions, pursuant to the Act,” Cook added.

In a May 24 reply to Cook also obtained by the Paulick Report, Lazarus wrote, “As has been the case with every other state racing commission, we have made numerous attempts to engage with the Texas Racing Commission on the Authority's implementation of HISA rules and stand ready to work with you to ensure that Thoroughbred racing flourishes in Texas and across this country.

“Your letter appears to take the position that if the Authority acts as Congress directed, the Texas Racing Commission may effectively shut down Thoroughbred racing in Texas,” Lazarus continued. “If this is correct, it is unfortunate and unnecessary. It is is hard to imagine that Texas takes the same approach to other regulatory areas where the federal government exercises concurrent or limited jurisdiction.”

Lazarus referred to a portion of the enabling federal legislation stating, “The rules of the Authority promulgated in accordance with [the statute] shall preempt any provision of State law or regulation with respect to matters within the jurisdiction of the Authority under the chapter.”

Lazarus added, “Accordingly, while State laws are preempted with respect to matters on which the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has approved and promulgated a final rule, Texas law will continue to regulate matters on which the FTC has not yet approved and promulgated a final rule. …

“Beginning July 1, 2022, all Covered Persons and all Covered Horseraces (as defined in HISA) are required to comply with the FTC approved regulations of the Authority. This means that any Thoroughbred horserace in Texas that exports its pari-mutuel signal will be governed by HISA as set forth above. Should Texas choose not to conduct Thoroughbred horseraces that export their signal after July 1, then there will not be any Covered Horseraces in Texas to which HISA will apply.”

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