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Iowan raises concern about federal control over horse racing

DES MOINES — The leader of one of the groups which supports and runs horse racing in Iowa tells state regulators there is a new federal plan in the works that could be “devastating” to the industry.

Jon Moss, the executive director of the Iowa Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, says a new regulation act got tacked onto the massive federal relief package.

“This act is probably one of the biggest changes in the horse racing industry since the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978,” Moss says. He says the 1978 act set up a framework for horse racing and allowed each state to implement its plan within that framework.

But Moss says the new act takes away the state power. “They have now effectively said that all the rights the states have been abdicated and you must turn over anything in relation to a new organization that will be formed that will dictate not only medication measures — but also safety issues,” Moss says.

Moss told the state Racing and Gaming Commission at their monthly meeting that the state control is just one of the issues of concern and the potential cost is another. “Because of the fact that this new group that is being formed is unchecked in how much they can charge us as the state of Iowa in order to actually regulate the racing industry within the state,” Moss says. “This new group takes your power, gets to dictate how much money they think it takes to do that, and then charge us to do that. And they are going to charge not only Prairie Meadows and the state — they are going to do whatever they want.”

Moss says Iowa U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley were against the measure — but had to vote for the bill to get the needed pandemic relief.

He says it is something his group and others will try to stop. “There’s going to be a reckoning coming — we’re going to be in a tough position. We may reach out and request something of your assistance to try and help stop this from being implemented,” Moss says.

Racing and Gaming Commission members say they are aware of the situation, and Moss says he has talked with the Racing and Gaming Administrator about the issue.

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