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Equine Group Against Repeal Legislation

Published: June 23, 2015 2:16 pm ET

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During the annual American Horse Council June meeting in Washington, D.C., the AHC Board of Trustees voted unanimously to oppose legislation introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA) to repeal the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 (IHA).

"The industry is united in its opposition to these bills. The Interstate Horse Racing Act is the framework on which the present-day $26 billion horse racing industry is built,” said AHC President Jay Hickey. "Repealing it would be devastating.”

In 1978, Congress enacted the IHA to regulate interstate and off-track pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing. Tens of millions of fans enjoy horse racing and wagering on it. Pari-mutuel racing and the money wagered on it are the economic engines that drive and support the horse racing industry.

While the sponsors of the legislation suggest in releases accompanying the introduction of the bills that they will encourage the industry to develop uniform rules and penalties regarding drugs and medications in racing, unlike other bills introduced by Senator Udall and Congressman Pitts, the only effect of these bills would be to repeal the IHA and racing's exemption from the prohibitions of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which regulates interstate wagering on the internet. By doing this the bills would return racing to the way it operated in the 1950s and 1960s and cause great economic damage to the industry.

"The American Horse Council opposes both bills because they would have devastating consequences for the horse racing industry and the hundreds of thousands of Americans whose jobs are supported by the industry,” said Hickey.

The AHC represents all segments of the horse industry, including all major national horse racing organizations.


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