Texas Racing Commission
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Texas Racing Commission

Commission / Commissioners


Powers of the Commission

Purposes

The purpose of the Texas Racing Act is to:

"provide for the strict regulation of horse racing and greyhound racing and the control of pari-mutuel wagering in connection with that racing. (Act, §1.02)
Generally, the Texas Racing Commission's responsibilities are:
"[to] regulate and supervise every race meeting in this state involving wagering on the result of greyhound or horse racing. All persons and things relating to the operation of those meetings are subject to regulation and supervision by the commission. The commission shall adopt rules for conducting greyhound or horse racing in this state involving wagering and shall adopt other rules to administer this Act that are consistent with this Act."
(Act, §3.02)
Racetracks

The Commission is authorized to issue up to three licenses for Class 1 horse racetracks, which must be located in counties with a population of at least 750,000 or a county adjacent to such a county. (Act, §6.02) The counties with a population of at least 750,000 are Harris County, Bexar County, Dallas County, and Tarrant County.

The Commission is also authorized to issue Class 2, 3, and 4 horse racetrack licenses. None of these types of licenses are restricted as to location or number, although Class 3 and 4 racetracks must be owned/operated by county fairs or nonprofit corporations.

The Commission is authorized to issue up to three licenses for greyhound racetracks, which must be located in counties with a population of at least 190,000 that include part of an island that borders the Gulf of Mexico. (Act, §6.04(c), §6.14(c)) The counties that meet the requirements for a greyhound racetrack are Cameron County, Nueces County, and Galveston County.

Regulation of Racing

The commission by rule shall categorize the occupations of racetrack employees and determine the occupations that afford the employee an opportunity to influence racing with pari-mutuel wagering. The rules must require the following employees to be licensed under this Act:: (1) an employee who works in an occupation determined by the commission to afford the employee an opportunity to influence racing with pari-mutuel wagering; or (2) an employee who will likely have significant access to the backside of a racetrack or to restricted areas of the frontside of a racetrack. (Act, §7.01)

In addition, the Commission hires officials who oversee all live pari-mutuel racing conducted in this state and regulates all simulcast races offered for wagering in this state. (Act, §3.07, §11.011)

Enforcement

The Commission is authorized to deny, suspend, and revoke licenses, as well as to impose administrative penalties against its licensees of up to $10,000 for each violation of the Commission's rules. (Act, §6.06, §7.04, §15.03) In addition, the stewards/racing judges supervising racing at each racetrack are authorized to suspend licenses for up to five years and to assess fines of up to $25,000. (Act, §3.07) A decision of a steward or judge is subject to review by the executive director, who may modify the penalty. A penalty modified by the executive director under this section may include a fine not to exceed $100,000, a suspension not to exceed five years, or both a fine and a suspension. The stewards/racing judges may call hearings for infractions on their motion or on referral from the Executive Director or the Commission's investigators. The Commission, the stewards/racing judges, and the Executive Director may also order any person, not just licensees, ejected or excluded from pari-mutuel racetracks. (Act, §13.01)

Monitoring and Complaints

The Commission staff in Austin monitors the activities of racetrack licensees through periodic inspections. By using information provided by Commission staff at the racetracks, the press, the public, and other licensees, the Commission is better able to ensure all racing licensees conduct their business in accordance with the applicable law and rules.

Consumer complaints are accepted by the Commission and may be filed anonymously. Click here to learn more about filing a complaint with the Commission.



Page updated: 8/30/16

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