Louisiana Attorney General Leads Lawsuit Against Federal Takeover Of Horse Racing

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Published July 01, 2022

Louisiana Attorney General Leads Lawsuit Against Federal Takeover Of Horse Racing

Louisiana – The State of Louisiana, the State of West Virginia, the Louisiana Racing Commission, the Louisiana Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the Jockeys’ Guild, and owners, trainers, and jockeys filed a lawsuit in the Western District of Louisiana on June 30, 3033, requesting that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s regulations be stayed. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, was passed in the dead of night on December 22, 2020, and is tucked into the COVID relief package as an attempt to federalize horse racing, an industry that the state of Louisiana has regulated for two centuries.

“HISA has created a regulatory scheme that is, at best, half-baked and harmful to everyone in the industry it purports to exist to protect and at worst unconstitutional,” said Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. “We all agree integrity and safety in horseracing is of paramount importance. And while no industry is without problems, Louisiana and West Virginia, among other states, have always strictly and effectively regulated it. I firmly believe the people of Louisiana should be in control of this activity, not political and corporate elites in some faraway place, all because of a problem that surfaced in California. Having a London lawyer, Jonathan Young, as the head of HISA’s ADMC Enforcement Agency and a Bavarian Investigator, Gunter Younger, regulating Louisiana horseman over five thousand miles away is unacceptable.”

The HISA law seeks to effectively replace state regulatory commissions with a private corporation in charge of horseracing that was established 90 days prior to the passage of this Act. The Federal Trade Commission has only a sham oversight of this entity. This newly formed private corporation then began issuing regulations, as permitted by the FTC, with very little time for public comment, leaving those who actually work under them with little input or voice. In short, the entire process of enacting this law and the regulations that accompany it demonstrates a reckless disregard for industry participants and a corresponding reckless disregard for the impact on our states. Not just for Louisiana, but for all states that race horses.

According to the office of the Louisiana Attorney General, the regulations are unclear, inconsistent, and violate due process. It is apparent that the HISA is shifting its own lack of preparedness to the industry and the states.

The Attorney General’s office indicated that Congress recklessly established this massive regulatory scheme that is onerous and unfair to everyone. To make matters worse, it is taxing those who work the hardest and receive the least in order to pay for it, while showing no concern for the safety of the sport’s most vulnerable participant – the thoroughbred jockey. The Jockeys’ Guild, which represents an entire industry of dedicated men and women at the heart of this industry and who place rider safety first, has expressed concerns about the law’s implementation.

The Guild consistently participated in public comment periods and voiced its concerns, which, with a few exceptions, were either ignored or ignored.

According to the Louisiana Attorney General’s office, this suit clearly demonstrates that HISA is not prepared to assume control or supervision over racing. HISA, for example, proposed a registration rule that also requires covered persons to be registered and accredited by HISA by July 1. However, the terms “covered persons” and “accredited” are not well understood by the general public. Making matters worse, the FTC appeared to approve yet another set of rules at 8 p.m. last night, June 30, adding to the confusion.​