Pari-Mutuel Gambling Regulations

Some jurisdictions license only persons engaged in gambling-related duties. In other states, all employees, regardless of work duties or work location (i. e. hotel rooms) are subject to licensing. In most jurisdictions, licensure for rank-and-file gambling personnel entails a standardized criminal background check. Upper management casino personnel and other key persons of a licensed operation are subjected to more extensive background examinations. Most jurisdictions have statutory provisions specifying disqualifying criteria for persons seeking to work in casinos. Typically, any felony conviction disqualifies an individual. In some cases a misdemeanor conviction, or the denial or revocation of licensure in another gambling jurisdiction, are also cited as disqualifying factors.
The depth of regulatory investigations and oversight of suppliers also varies across the states. The licensure of gambling industry suppliers is primarily concentrated on the business entities that provide gambling devices and equipment. Most regulatory bodies are also granted the statutory authority to license entities that provide non-gambling-related goods or services to casinos. Such authority is not routinely utilized. Only the State of New Jersey currently requires licensure of certain non-gambling casino contractors.

At the Commission’s request, a guide to model regulation was developed by Michael Belletire, the former Administrator of the Illinois Gaming Board (see Attachment A at the end of this chapter). 18

The pari-mutuel industry, which includes greyhound racing and jai alai, has a long history in the United States, but horse-racing remains by far the largest and most financially healthy segment.

Administrative Structure
While the exact form varies, all states with legal pari-mutuel operations regulate the activity through a racing commission or other state gambling regulatory body. The purposes of regulation include maintaining the integrity of the races or events, ensuring the state receives its tax revenues, overseeing the licensing of tracks and operators, and preventing an infiltration by criminal elements. 19

To obtain a license to operate, state racing commissions perform background checks on track owners, horse owners, trainers, jockeys, drivers, kennel operators, stewards, judges, and backstretch personnel. Once the license is extended, racing commissioners retain the authority to suspend or revoke licenses. Reasons for denying, suspending, or revoking a license include criminal infractions, false representations, failure to disclose ownership of a horse or greyhound, inadequate training, or a history of concerns pertaining to an individual’s integrity. 20

Underage gambling also is a concern. In most states, children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult in order to enter a pari-mutuel facility, and the minimum age requirement for betting varies from 17 to 21 years of age. Most states have set the minimum at 18. 21

18 This regulatory model relies heavily on the paper submitted by Michael A. Belletire entitled “Legislating and Regulating Casino Gaming: A View from State Regulators.” 19 R. Anthony Chamblin, Testimony for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, Del Mar, California (July 29, 1998) (on file with the Commission). 20 Ibid.