HISA Opponents Seek National Injunction

HISA officials downplay move, say Congress’ amendment has addressed concerns.


An amended complaint filed in a Louisiana federal court names a host of new states and other entities seeking a national injunction against oversight of important areas of horse racing by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority.

The case referenced originally was filed by the states and racing commissions of Louisiana and West Virginia, the Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and others. A preliminary injunction issued by Judge Terry Doughty of the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana led to a halt of rules enforcement in the two named states by HISA and the Federal Trade Commission.

According to the amended complaint, four other states are now involved in the lawsuit: Arkansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Pari-mutuel racing is held in all of those states except Mississippi. In addition to the racing commissions of Louisiana and West Virginia, new plaintiffs include the Oklahoma Racing Commission and Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission. Although the state of Arkansas is named in the case, the Arkansas Racing Commission is not a plaintiff.


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With Law Changed, HISA Back in Court

Formal motion to set aside unconstitutionality ruling to be filed Jan. 3.


An attorney for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority this week asked a federal appeals court panel to set aside its ruling declaring the entity’s underlying legislation facially unconstitutional, citing a recent amendment to the law.

A letter signed by Pratik A. Shah Dec. 29 on behalf of HISA formally notified the three-judge panel “that on December 23 Congress passed, and on December 29 President Biden signed into law an amendment” that gives the Federal Trade Commission more power to regulate the Authority.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, had declared the legislation facially unconstitutional for failing to give the FTC adequate oversight over the Authority, a private entity created by the legislation.


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Anti-HISA Ruling Could Be Delayed for Months

Fifth Circuit refuses to order accelerated issuance of mandate.


The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which in November ruled the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is unconstitutional, turned down a Dec. 15 request by the states and racing commissions of Louisiana and West Virginia to give the decision effect on Dec. 19. The upshot is enforcement of a lower court injunction against HISA could be delayed for months.

The two-line order denying the request was entered Dec. 16 by the same three Fifth Circuit judges who reversed a Texas federal district court ruling in favor of HISA. The lower court injunction against HISA was entered by a federal district court in Louisiana, which is also in the Fifth Circuit.

The Fifth Circuit’s anti-HISA decision cannot take effect unless and until a mandate issues. A publication of the American Bar Association says, “At its most basic, the mandate is the device by which an appellate court closes an appeal.”


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FTC Notifies Appeals Court of HISA Rule Change Proposal



The Federal Trade Commission notified the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans by a Sept. 2 letter that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority has proposed two rule changes to meet objections raised by two states and others in a federal lawsuit.

The suit originated in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, which on July 26 issued a preliminary injunction curbing HISA’s power to enforce FTC safety rules in Louisiana and West Virginia and to all plaintiffs in the case. The ruling was not based on constitutional grounds.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Aug. 8 ordered that the district court injunction be stayed except for its application to three regulations while it considers an appeal of the injunction. Oral arguments on the merits of the case followed Aug. 30.


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HISA Faces New Legal Challenge in Texas

Lawsuit says the authority’s enforcement systems are unconstitutional.


A lawsuit filed on July 29 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas challenges the authority of the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Authority.

The suit was brought by Lone Star Park owner Global Gaming, the owner of a Texas greyhound track seeking approvals to run horse races, and two entities trying to develop racetracks for horses in Texas. The suit and a motion for preliminary injunction motion argue that members of the HISA board of directors should have been appointed by the President on the advice and consent of the Senate, and that the Authority is unconstitutionally structured because the President cannot superintend the authority’s execution of laws.


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Challenge to HISA Denied by Ruling in Texas Case

Claims brought by the National HBPA to enjoin enforcement of HISA were dismissed.


Claims brought in a Texas federal court to stop the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act from going forward were dismissed on March 31 by U. S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix.

The lawsuit, filed by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and joined by affiliated HBPAs, sought to have the court enjoin enforcement of the Act as unconstitutional. The HBPAs argued that HISA gave unlawful regulatory power to a private entity it created, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority.

After finding the HBPAs have standing to bring the case and that an actual controversy exists, Hendrix also found there is no disagreement about the material facts, leading the way to a decision based on the application of law.


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