Federal Regulations Mean Decisions for Iowa Horse Industry
Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission

(Radio Iowa) A federal agency called the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority is set to take over the over the regulation of drug testing for thoroughbred horses in January. Iowa Racing and Gaming Administrator, Brian Ohorilkoh says that will impact Iowa’s only horse track at in Altoona.

“The intent is for uniformity across the country. It’s something that some states view it favorably — many states do not — but what we do know is that there will definitely be some changes in terms of how racing is regulated,” he says, “not only at Prairie Meadows, but at every racetrack throughout the country. ” The federal government has assessed Iowa a fee of more than one million dollars for these services. If the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission picks up and conduct the tasks outlined in the different federal regulations, the state will receive a credit of approximately 400-thousand dollars. That leaves around 650-thousand dollar that the race track and horse industry have to figure out a way to pay.

“And that, you know, at this point is really kind of the major factor in terms of how those fees will be paid, who will pay for them and how that those payments will trickle down and impact the rest of the industry in terms of number of people that are able to continue to participate number of starters per race,” Ohorilkoh says. He says Prairie Meadows already pays the state a fee — but it includes more than horse racing.

“The regulatory fees currently for Prairie Meadows are just north of a million dollars. And that includes the regulation of casino gambling, sports betting, thoroughbred racing and quarter horse racing,” Ohorilkoh says. Regulators and the groups involved in horse racing have has some discussion on the issue, and Ohorilkoh says that will continue.

“We’re working towards compliance and in trying to determine what will everyone will play and how it will be paid for,” he says. The I-R-G-C has hired a company that is conducting a study of the horse racing industry. Ohorilkoh says the potential impact of the federal regulation is one of the things included in the study. It will also look at things like the scheduling of races and the marketing of the track and how to maximize its benefits.

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