Friday November 22 ,2013 : PENNSYLVANIA IN BID TO INTRODUCE ONLINE HORSE RACE BETTING
Proposed Bureau of Horse Racing oversight body paves the way for internet wagering.
Four Pennsylvania Republican state politicians, all of whom have received campaign contributions from the horse racing industry, have introduced a new bill to the state Senate that seeks to expand oversight of the industry and pave the way for the introduction of internet wagering on the races..
State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, and Senators Robert Tomlinson, Elder Vogel and Joseph Scarnati are sponsoring the bill, which proposes the creation of a Bureau of Horse Racing to oversee all day-to-day racing operations statewide.
The new bureau would enforce stringent drug testing, increase fines, and crack down on the exchange of “gifts” from breeders, trainers and owners to track personnel and their relatives.
The Bureau would fall under the authority of the state Gaming Control Board and would replace the current underfunded and understaffed Racing Commission, which reports to the state Dept. of Agriculture and spends around $21 million a year on regulating the industry.
The new structure proposed by the four senators gives the Gaming Control Board authority to grant licenses to state land casinos that would be permitted to take online bets on horse racing carried out within the state.
The money wagered via the Internet would be folded into the pari-mutuel handle with any new tax revenue it generates paying for the new regulatory oversight.
A spokesman for Senator Pileggi said the bill puts the reins of regulation into appropriate hands.
“Pennsylvania has a large, well-staffed and highly skilled Gaming Control Board which already regulates billions of dollars’ worth of gaming activity in the Commonwealth,” said spokesman Erik Arneson.
“It's entirely appropriate for the Gaming Control Board to take over the role of regulating standardbred and thoroughbred racing, along with pari-mutuel wagering, as part of their duties.”
Rumours of a FBI investigation into the horse racing industry in the state have been rife this year, although the federal enforcement body has declined to either confirm or deny that this is the case.
The rumour has been given credibility by claims by a director of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, who revealed that he had been directly interviewed by FBI agents as part of an investigation.