The Board of Directors of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) has voted to focus its efforts in 2016 on unifying the racing industry behind efforts to strengthen integrity efforts and possibly a central rule making process in the U.S. to achieve uniform medication policies and consistent implementation.
“The political divide that currently exists in the racing industry is destructive to the sport,” said current ARCI Chairman Mark Lamberth, who indicated “significant progress has been made and continues to be made on a variety of fronts to implement agreed upon reforms”. He noted that the ARCI Compliance Committee that he formed earlier this year has identified the issues in specific jurisdictions that have been an obstacle to achieving uniformity.
“We believe it is time to take a holistic approach to these issues and develop a consensus on how to achieve this,” said ARCI President Ed Martin, who noted that current legislative proposals being put forth were formulated without a regulator or industry consensus.
To that end, the ARCI will hold “Town Meeting” forums across the U.S. with racing industry stakeholders, participants and fans in an attempt to find common ground and a workable solution to the problems the industry faces.
Individual regulatory agencies have often relied upon this approach to create policies in their jurisdictions. This will mark the first time that this approach will be done on a national basis in regions across the country by the regulators working in conjunction with racetracks, breeders, horsemen, stakeholder entities, legislators and fans.
Incoming ARCI Chairwoman Judy Wagner said that “everything is on the table and we firmly believe there is common ground to be found to achieve common goals.”
The ARCI Board did not rule in or out possible federal legislation yet to be drafted. Board members indicated that legislation may not be necessary and the powers and ability to achieve agreed upon goals may already exist under current federal and state laws.
“Everyone needs to be creative and flexible as to how we achieve this,” Martin said.
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