On June 29, 2016, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Public Act 0271 ‘16 (“PA 0271”), which amends and revises the Horse Racing Law of 1995. The bill had gone through several iterations in both the House and Senate. The bill, among other things, establishes the ‘Horse Racing Advisory Commission’ to be created within the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and it could result in a reduction in the amount of live racing that will likely be conducted in the future.

The Horse Racing Advisory Commission will consist of appointments made by Governor Snyder within 90 days of the bill’s passage and must include:

  • A Chairperson who has knowledge about and expertise in horse racing in the state of Michigan;
  • The Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development or his or her designee;
  • A veterinarian;
  • Two individuals from 2 different statewide horse racing associations; and
  • Two individuals who are owners or operators, or designees of owners or operators of 2 different horse racetracks in Michigan.

The Executive Director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board (“MGCB”), who has served as Racing Commissioner since 2010, previously expressed neutrality on the bill while noting the potential for the tracks to move forward with simulcast-only operations.

Further, the legislation states that “[t]he Racing Commissioner shall take under consideration the procedures established by the Advisory Commission under subsection (12)(A) in performing his or her duties under this Act.”

Section (12)(A) states further that “[t]he Advisory Commission shall … [e]stablish for the Commissioner procedures governing the operation and promotion of horse racing in this state.”

Click here to access PA 0271 ‘16.


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