Monday May 4,2015 : NO HORSE-TRADING ON THIS POLITICAL PROPOSAL
These two Congressmen may have unleashed a bucking bronco with their proposal to end online gambling exemptions for the US horse racing industry!
Two US Congressmen, Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Representative Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) have created something of a furore in the American horse racing industry by introducing a proposal in the House and the Senate that seeks to end the industry's legislative "sweetheart" status regarding gambling exemptions.
Reporting on the proposal over the weekend the industry publication Horse Talk said the two lawmakers appeared to be "…having a crack at the American racing industry in what appears to be a ‘big stick' tactic aimed at reining in what the pair describe as chronic abuse of performance-enhancing drugs and corruption."
The duo's proposal seeks the repeal of the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978, effectively putting the brakes on about 90 percent of the $US 11 billion wagered annually on American racing.
Predictably, the US National Thoroughbred Racing Association is less than enthusiastic about the bill, and has labeled the effort a shameless publicity stunt.
“The National Thoroughbred Racing Association strongly opposes this most recent attack on horse-racing,” its president and chief executive, Alex Waldrop, said over the weekend, pointing out that the bill has the potential to destroy the economic viability of the $US 26 billion horse-racing industry and the 380,000 jobs it supports nationwide.
“This bill is a shameless publicity stunt that mischaracterizes one of the nation’s most highly regulated sports,” Waldrop fulminated, claiming that it ignored the significant progress the industry has achieved at state level in recent years through widespread adoption of the National Uniform Medication Program.
US Jockey Club president and chief operating officer James Gagliano also expressed disappointment, saying "The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 is the lifeblood of the industry, and we strongly oppose any effort to repeal it.
“As an organization, the Jockey Club firmly believes that horses should compete only when they are free from the influence of medication.”
Udall and Pitts have noted in their support for the proposal that horse-racing is the only sport permitted by federal law to offer online gambling and interstate betting.
The two legislators have acknowledged that their bill would spell to end to 90 percent of the $US11 billion wagered on horse-racing, but remain unrepentant, saying:
“It’s time to crack down on corruption by ending horse-racing’s sweetheart gambling privileges. We must stop the abuse and restore integrity to this once-dignified sport.
“Despite years of promises of reform, horseracing groups have been unable to come together to develop uniform rules that protect both horses and the integrity of the sport. This legalization will end a federal exception for gambling on horse-racing.”