Thursday, June 30, 2022
Attorney General Landry Leads Lawsuit Against Federal Takeover Of Horse Racing
BATON ROUGE, LA – Today the State of Louisiana, the State of West Virginia, the Louisiana Racing Commission, the Louisiana Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the Jockeys’ Guild, owners, trainers, and jockeys filed suit in the Western District of Louisiana asking the Court to enjoin the implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s regulations. HISA – the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, was passed December 22, 2020, in the dark of night and tucked into the COVID relief package is an attempt to federalize horse racing, an industry 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 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 purports to effectively substitute state regulatory commissions with a private corporation, setup 90 days prior to the passage of this Act, in charge of horseracing. This entity has only nominal oversight by the Federal Trade Commission. This newly-created private corporation then began to issue regulations, on which the FTC permitted, allowing very little time for public comment, leaving those that actually labor under them with little input or voice. In short, the entire way this law and the regulations associated with it came about shows a reckless disregard for the industry participants and a correspondingly reckless disregard for the impact to our states. Not just for Louisiana, but for all states that engage in horseracing. 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.
Congress recklessly set up this massive regulatory scheme that is onerous and unfair to everyone. Then, adding insult to injury, it is taxing the people who work the hardest and receive the least to pay for it while showing no interest in the safety of the sport’s most at-risk participant – the thoroughbred jockey. The Jockey Guild, which represents an entire industry of dedicated men and women at the very heart of this industry and for whom rider safety is paramount, has expressed its concerns about the reckless implementation of this law, but its comments were ignored.
This suit clearly shows that HISA is not prepared to assume control or supervision over racing. For example, HISA proposed a registration rule that also requires covered persons to be registered by July 1 and accredited by HISA. However, “covered persons” and the definition of “accredited” are unclear to just about everyone. Making matters even worse, the FTC posted its apparent approval of yet another set of rules at 8 p.m. last night, June 30, injecting even more confusion.