Horse Racetrack & Race Meet Licenses

The Office of Racing Commissioner (ORC) was originally established by the Racing Act of 1933 to authorize and regulate pari-mutuel horse racing in Michigan. The ORC administers licenses to Michigan racetracks and also to those associations that conduct race meetings at licensed racetracks pursuant to the Horse Racing Law, Act 279 of 1995 as amended and in accordance with the Office of the Racing Commissioner General Rules.


A. NAME OF PERMIT OR APPROVAL:

Racetrack License

Michigan Office of Racing Commissioner Racetrack License Application. This form along with the four (4) required attachments (Attachments A, B, C & D) are available at the ORC website at the licensing forms area: Horse Racing - Licensing Forms

Race Meet License

Michigan Office of Racing Commissioner Race Meet License Application. This form along with the twenty (20) required attachments (Attachments A through T) are available at the ORC website at the licensing forms area: Horse Racing - Licensing Forms

B. STATUTORY AUTHORITY:

Horse Racing Law, Public Act 279 of 1995 as amended

C. APPLICABLE REGULATION:

The Office of Racing Commissioner General Rules

D. SUMMARY OF PERMIT/APPROVAL PROCESS

1.  Applicability

RACETRACK LICENSES

The ORC may issue a racetrack license to maintain or operate a racetrack at which 1 or more race meeting licensees may conduct licensed race meetings in this State.

RACE MEET LICENSES

The ORC may issue a race meeting licenses to conduct live horse racing, simulcasting, and pari-mutuel wagering on the results of live and simulcast horse races at a licensed race track in this State. The race meeting license is issued annually for the succeeding year.

2.  Application Submission Requirements

RACETRACK LICENSES

An applicant for a track license shall submit the completed Racetrack License application along with its required attachments, that demonstrates to the Racing Commissioner that the applicant has satisfactory financial responsibility, that shows the location of the racetrack or of the proposed racetrack, and that is accompanied by substantially detailed plans and specifications for the racecourse, paddock, grandstand, stable barns, racetrack buildings, fences, electrical service and lighting, plumbing, parking, and other facilities and improvements.

RACE MEET LICENSES

An applicant for a race meet license shall submit the completed race meeting license application along with its required attachments shall be filed with the Racing Commissioner before September 1 of the preceding year. At a minimum, the completed race meeting license application shall give detailed information on:

  • the applicant and its business entity to include directors, officers, shareholders, and partners(a) Specify the licensed racetrack at which the proposed race meeting will be held;
  • whether the applicant requests or will request to conduct simulcasting, if so, demonstrate the applicant's ability to properly conduct simulcasting;
  • the horse breed for which the applicant desires to conduct live racing, and the days on which the applicant proposes to conduct live horse racing at the race meeting.
  • the time period during which the applicant requests to be licensed during the calendar year immediately following the date of application.

The application must also demonstrate to the Racing Commissioner that the applicant and all persons associated with the applicant who hold any beneficial or ownership interest in the business activities of the applicant or who have power or ability to influence or control the business decisions or actions of the applicant satisfy all of the following minimum requirements:

  • Are persons of good character, honesty, and integrity;
  • Possess sufficient financial resources and business ability and experience to conduct the proposed race meeting;
  • Do not pose a threat to the public interest of the State or to the security and integrity of horse racing or pari-mutuel wagering on the results of horse races in the State.
3.  Procedures and Time-Frame for Obtaining Permit or Approval

RACETRACK LICENSES

  • Upon the applicant's filing of the application and the payment of the license fee, the Racing Commissioner investigates the applicant and the racetrack or proposed racetrack.
  • A person shall not be issued more than 1 track license. Controlling ownership and interlocking directorates among the holders of track licenses are prohibited.
  • In a city area, not more than 3 racetracks shall be licensed, except that in a city with a population of 900,000 or more the racing commissioner may issue 1 additional license.
  • A track license shall not be issued under this section if the new license would result in harmful competition among existing racetracks.
  • A track license, once issued, is valid only as long as the annual license fee is paid, or until the track license is voluntarily surrendered or is revoked as provided in this Act or the rules promulgated under this Act.

RACE MEET LICENSES

  • Upon the applicant's filing of the application, the Racing Commissioner investigates the applicant to determine whether the applicant, application, and proposed race meeting comply with the licensing requirements under the Act and the rules promulgated under the Act.
  • Unless a different agreement is reached by all the race meeting licensees in a city area, live thoroughbred horse races cannot be conducted after 6:45 p.m. on any day except Sunday, and live standardbred horse races cannot be conducted before 6:45 p.m. on any day except Sunday.
  • Each applicant for a Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Appaloosa, American Paint, or Arabian horse race meet license must apply to conduct at least 45 days or 160 days of live racing (depending on location) with not less than 9 races programmed.
  • Each applicant for a Standardbred race meet license must apply to conduct at least 75 days to 140 days (depending on location and handle) of live racing with not less than 9 races programmed.
  • The holder of a race meeting license may apply for a permit to televise simulcasts of horse races to viewing areas within the enclosure of the licensed racetrack at which the applicant is licensed to conduct its race meeting. The commissioner may issue a permit for individual race and full card simulcasts televised during, between, before, or after programmed live horse races on any day that live racing is conducted by the applicant, and also on other days during the term of the applicant's license when the applicant does not conduct live horse racing, subject to specific conditions outlined in the Act.
  • Before November 1 of the year preceding the year for which applications are made, the Racing Commissioner shall grant or deny each application for a race meeting license, allocate or deny the dates, for which application has been made, on which pari-mutuel wagering on live races may be conducted at each licensed race meeting in this State, and shall also determine whether the applicant may simulcast under section 18 during the calendar year for which the license is issued. The Racing Commissioner may grant a race meeting license for any time period up to 1 year during which the licensee may conduct live and simulcast horse races with pari-mutuel wagering on the results of such races.

 

4. Operational Requirements

 

RACETRACK LICENSES

All proposed extensions, additions, modifications, or improvements to the racecourse, roadways, parking lots, buildings, stables, lighting and electrical service, plumbing, public utilities, drainage, totalisator system and equipment, hardware and software for all approved methods of conducting pari-mutuel wagering, and security on the grounds of a licensed racetrack owned or leased by a person licensed under this act are subject to the approval of the Racing Commissioner.

The Racing Commissioner may visit, investigate, and place auditors and other persons as the Racing Commissioner considers necessary in the offices, racetracks, or places of business of a licensee under the Horse Racing Act to ensure compliance with this Act and the rules promulgated under this Act.

The Racing Commissioner may impose a fine or suspend or revoke the license if the holder of the license, after reasonable notice from the racing commissioner, does not make necessary improvements, additions, or corrections to the licensed premises, fixtures, or equipment as determined and required by the Racing Commissioner; if the holder of the license violates or is no longer in compliance with the requirements of this act or the rules promulgated under this act; or if the licensed premises are not utilized to conduct a licensed race meeting for 2 consecutive years.

In addition to the suspension or revocation of the license, the Racing Commissioner may impose a fine or bring an action in circuit court seeking an order of the court requiring the licensee to make reasonable and necessary racetrack improvements or additions as determined by the commissioner if the licensee fails to make improvements or corrections that comply with the applicable construction code or local ordinances.

Before March 31 of each year, each holder of a racetrack shall file with the racing commissioner a certified statement of receipts from all sources during the previous calendar year and of all expenses and disbursements, itemized in a manner and on a standardized form as directed by the state treasurer, showing the net revenue from all sources derived by the holder of the license.

RACE MEET LICENSES

All forms of pari-mutuel wagering conducted at a licensed race meeting shall be preapproved by the Racing Commissioner pursuant to rule or written order.

The race meeting licensee shall have a current written contract with a certified horsemen's organization before it may conduct live or simulcast horse races with pari-mutuel wagering on the results of the races pursuant to its license.

If the pari-mutuel system of wagering is used at a race meeting, a totalisator or other device that is equal in accuracy and clearness to a totalisator and approved by the Racing Commissioner shall be used. The odds display of the totalisator or other device shall be placed in full view of the patrons.

If after the issuance of a race meeting license, the Racing Commissioner determines upon further investigation that the holder of a race meeting license has not met, or will be unable to meet, the requirements of the license, the racing commissioner may impose a fine or suspend or revoke the race meeting license, or both, for all or part of the remainder of the time period for which the license was granted.

The Racing Commissioner may visit, investigate, and place auditors and other persons as the Racing Commissioner considers necessary in the offices, racetracks, or places of business of a licensee under the Horse Racing Act to ensure compliance with this Act and the rules promulgated under this Act.

Each applicant issued a race meeting license shall maintain an interest bearing account used exclusively for deposit of all funds due horsemen's purse pools under this Act. All funds due to this account shall be deposited within a reasonable time after receipt by the race meeting licensee. and all interest earned by the account shall be credited to the purse pool and deposited in the account.

Before March 31 of each year, each holder of a race meeting shall file with the racing commissioner a certified statement of receipts from all sources during the previous calendar year and of all expenses and disbursements, itemized in a manner and on a standardized form as directed by the state treasurer, showing the net revenue from all sources derived by the holder of the license.

On the first day other than Sunday after each day of operation, each holder of a race meeting license shall remit the money due to the State or other entities under this Act at the close of the day of operation with a detailed statement of that money.

All authorized simulcasts shall be conducted by the race meet licensee in compliance with the written permit and related orders issued by the Racing Commissioner and all other requirements and conditions of the Act and the Office of Racing Commissioner General Rules. All authorized interstate simulcasts shall also comply with the interstate horse racing act of 1978, Public Law 95-15, 15 U.S.C. 3001 to 3007.

All breaks shall be retained by the race meeting licensee and paid directly to the city or township in which the racetrack is located as a fee for providing adequate police, fire, and traffic protection of persons and property at and near each race meet.

Each holder of a race meeting license shall pay to the state treasurer, from the holder's commission, a tax in the amount of 3.5% of all money wagered on interstate and intertrack simulcast races conducted at the holder's licensed race meeting(s).

5.  Fees

RACETRACK LICENSES

Each licensed racetrack located in a city area shall pay a license fee to the racing commissioner of $1,000.00 annually, and any other licensed racetrack shall pay a license fee of $200.00 annually. ("City area" means a city with a population of 750,000 or more and every county located wholly or partly within 30 miles of the city limits of the city).

RACE MEET LICENSES

There is currently no fee for a race meet license.

6.  Appeal Process

RACETRACK LICENSES

If the Racing Commissioner determines that the applicant or the racetrack, or both, do not comply with the Horse Racing Act and the rules promulgated under this act, the Racing Commissioner shall deny the license. The action of the Racing Commissioner in denying a track license may be reviewed by the circuit court pursuant to section 631 of the Revised Judicature Act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL 600.631.

The action of the Racing Commissioner in suspending or revoking a track license shall comply with the Administrative Procedures Act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328, and shall be subject to appeal.

RACE MEET LICENSES

A denial of a race meeting license may be appealed to the circuit court for judicial review pursuant to section 631 of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL 600.631. A suspension or revocation of a race meeting license may be appealed pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328.

 

7.  Public Input Opportunities

 

Racetrack or Race Meet licensing questions may be directed to the Office of Racing Commissioner's Lansing Office: (517)335-1420, or you may contact the ORC via its website: http://www.michigan.gov/mgcb/0,1607,7-120-57232_57201---,00.html


E. Contact Information:

Contact Us

Creation/Revision Date:

09/01/2010