MEMBERSHIP ENCOURAGED TO COMMENT ON REGULATORY LANGUAGE

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has posted proposed changes to the definition of a “horsemen’s group ” on their web site. There is no preamble for the change in the definition section, explanation for the need to change the definition nor reasoning for the proposed change to 205 CMR 1.49.00.

Without a preamble or reason for proposed change to the definition, it is unclear why the language proposed by the Commission should be adopted.

Please email comments to mgccomments@state.ma.us with ‘draft racing regulation comment’ in the subject line. The Commission will review any comments received, update the draft regulations where appropriate, and hold a public hearing on the matter.  The public hearing has been not yet been scheduled.

To view the draft regulations, paste this address to your browser:

The elimination of the term “majority of ” from the definition of a horsemen’s group would presumably allow any single or loosely formed association of individuals to enter the regular contractual process conducted between a racing association and a horsemen’s group for the purposes of entering into a purse agreement.

A purse agreement with a recognized racing association, conducting live racing, is the only mechanism recognized by the Gaming Commission and allowing it to disburse funds from the race horse development fund to a horsemen’s group and only for the purpose to fund a live race meeting with a racing association.

It is clear the Gaming Commission has considered the possibility of more than one group of horsemen operating in the Commonwealth. By including discretionary language in the proposed regulatory language change and with the ability to allocate shares of the 4% dedicated for horsemen benifit expenses from the race horse development fund, the Commission may presumably fund any number of  horsemen groups through purse agreements with any number of race associations in amounts its discretion determines.

The words a “majority of ” is limiting language in a regulation. Removing the limiting language from the definition of  “horsemen’s group” will undoubtedly open the door to groups having no membership what so ever to solicit racing associations for purse agreements. It will also allow racing associations to entertain purse agreements with any group defining themselves as a horsemen’s group, whether majority or minority, through the regular contractual process. The Commission may have to determine what loosely associated group is a horsemen’s group for purposes of funding a purse agreement.

This writer believes that the determination of a ” majority of ”  horsemen should be made by the race association, through a certified membership affidavit,  to the racing association and upon horsemen’s group affidavit. The affidavit having been signed by its president and treasurer, under the pains and penalties of perjury. That the certification by affidavit should be made available for review by the Commission, on demand, from the racing association and at the time the purse agreement with the ” majority of ” horsemen is approved by the Commission.

This simple process above will ensure the ” majority of ” horsemen group is the only group conducting the regular contractual process with a racing association. Having certification of its majority status membership prior to negotiations will discourage horsemen group’s unable to meet the regulatory definition requirement and whom may propose single days of racing or boutique type racing events over several days.

In essence, the elimination of the words ” majority of  ” as limiting language, creates a free for all and the ability of any special interest horsemen group, whether it represents any horsemen or not, to propose higher purse amounts ,write race conditions and propose purse splits far in excess of industry standards and the will of horsemen.

It also encourages, between a horsemen group and racing association , the conduct of a single or abbreviated racing meets or more particular short term racing events, the use of the regular contractual process and the ability of an undefined horsemen group willing and able to short sell purse agreements designed for the benefit and of the  ” majority of  ” horsemen assembled for the purpose of G.L.c. 128 A and 128 C, with race associations.

If this sounds familiar to many of you,  it is because this very procedure and technique was employed by Suffolk and the NEHBPA to arrive at a purse agreement and conduit race horse development funds inequitably to out of state trainers and owners last season.

The elimination of the ” majority of ” wording by the Commission, ensures this fractured procedure will become part of the regular contractual process between horsemen groups and racing associations to the detriment of dedicated horsemen and women assembling for the benevolent purpose of a horsemen’s association and the purposes of the above referenced statutes.

A simple change in a definition effectively allows these types of shenanigans to see the light of day. The question is whom does it benefit and why?

Well it benefits a ” horsemen’s group”  who :

  1. Do not have an existing membership or sustainable membership, or is in decline because of self interest and mismanagement of its members interests in a purse agreement.                                                    or
  2. Do not include its membership in the regular contractual process with a racing association to negotiate a fair and reasonable purse agreement split with a racing association.                                                             or
  3. Seeks self interests over the needs and wants of its membership.                                                    or
  4. Whom seek advantage over other groups by subverting the regulatory and statutory scheme of legislation designed for the protection of the majority by a specialized minority.

The net effect of a change in the definition of a ” majority of ”  is also objectionable because;

  1. The proposed Massachusetts definition is inconsistent with the language of the Interstate Horseracing Act, which defines and uses the ” majority of ”  language to qualify for simulcasting signal revenue.
  2. The use of a modified definition promotes confusion and invites future interpretation by a court or legislature.
  3. It Shifts or eliminates the burden on a racing association to determine the ” majority of ”  horsemen prior to entering into a purse agreement through the regular contractual process and fails to prevent unqualified groups from initiating the  regular contractual process.
  4.  It invites each separate non-majority group to share in simulcasting revenue, creating an accounting quagmire which may not be recognized under the Interstate Horseracing Act.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         In short, it allows the possibility of collusion between horsemen groups and racing associations, extends privileges to special interest groups and transfers significant economic bargaining power at the expense of the ” majority of ” horsemen. If this sound familiar it is because previous posts on this site have discussed various types of factions, their purposes, their techniques, processes and issue diversion employed by their group and leaders. Take time to review the older posts. When specific definitions in regulations are clear and unambiguous, contain specific limiting language, have specific processes in place regulating conduct and procedure, everyone involved is ensured of a fair, transparent process and equal interpretation and enforcement. So, it must come to pass that ELIMINATING the limiting language is special legislation in favor of a particular group, which has only its own self interests at stake. It is not conducive to reestablishing full time racing in the Commonwealth. It is a fractured and irrational approach to regulation, fails to promote the interests of the the entire industry and disrupts the regular contractual process between majorities and racing associations conducting a meet. It must come to pass that eliminating the limiting language “majority of ” will assuredly allow and promote special interest groups  invade the race horse development treasury for their own self interest to the detriment of the ” majority of ” horsemen and women. Your support and comments to the commission are required NOW. The comment period is open NOW. Your comments utilizing any of the thoughts and writings on this blog may be incorporated in to your response to the Commission NOW. IN THE CORRECT FORMAT WITH THE CORRECT COMMENT ADDRESS TO THE COMMISSION ABOVE. A public hearing will be held where you may make public statements indicating your disapproval of the proposed language and the elimination of the ” majority of  ” requirement which is now present in the definition and regulation. The time is NOW to take a stand. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission must understand the significance of the language  ” majority of ”  AND HOW IMPORTANT THIS LIMITATION  is to the process and advancement of thoroughbred, harness and standardbred horse racing industry in the Commonwealth.

posted by ” down the stretch ”

 

 

 

 

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