Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 11. Gaming
Agency 10. Virginia Racing Commission
Chapter 20. Regulations Pertaining to Horse Racing with Pari-Mutuel Wagering
11/29/2020

11VAC10-20-190. Criteria for horse racing facilities.

A. Generally. Every license to conduct a horse race meeting with pari-mutuel wagering privileges of 15 days or more in any calendar year is granted by the commission upon the condition that the licensee will conduct horse racing at its facility or meeting for the promotion, sustenance, and growth of a native industry in a manner consistent with the health, safety, and welfare of the people. The adequacy and sufficiency with which the licensee meets the criteria for the procedures, facilities, and equipment for conducting a horse race meeting of such duration shall rest with the commission.

1. Each licensee shall accept, observe, and enforce all federal and state laws, regulations of the commission, and local ordinances.

2. Each licensee shall at all times maintain its grounds and facilities so as to be neat and clean, painted and in good repair, with special consideration for the comfort and safety of the public, employees, other persons whose business requires their attendance, and for the health and safety of the horses there stabled.

3. Each licensee shall honor commission exclusions from the enclosure and eject immediately any person found within the enclosure who has been excluded by the commission and report the ejection to the commission. Whenever any licensee ejects a person from the enclosure, it shall furnish a written notice to the person ejected and shall report the ejection to the commission.

4. No later than 15 days before the first day of any race meeting, each licensee shall submit to the commission the most recent inspection reports issued by governmental authorities regarding the condition of facilities, sanitation, and fire prevention, detection, and suppression.

5. Each licensee shall provide the commission daily attendance reports showing a turnstile count of all persons admitted to the enclosure and the reports shall indicate the daily number of paid admissions, taxed complimentary admissions, and tax exempt admissions.

6. Each licensee shall furnish to the commission within three months of the closing of its fiscal year, three copies of its balance sheet and of its operating statement for the previous fiscal year with comparison to the prior fiscal year, the same duly sworn to by the treasurer of the association, and certified by an independent certified public accountant. The financial report shall be in the form as may be prescribed from time to time by the commission.

7. Each licensee shall maintain a separate bank account to be known as the "horsemen's account," with the amount of purse money statutorily mandated to be deposited in the account within 48 hours of the running of the race. Withdrawals from this account shall at all times be subject to audit by the commission, and the horsemen's bookkeeper in charge of the account shall be bonded:

a. All portions of purse money shall be made available when the stewards have authorized payment to the earners; and

b. No portion of purse money other than jockey fees shall be deducted by the licensee for itself or for another, unless so requested in writing by the person to whom such purse moneys are payable, or his duly authorized representative. Irrespective of whether requested, at the close of each race meeting the horsemen's bookkeeper shall mail to each owner a duplicate of each owner's account showing every deposit, withdrawal, or transfer of funds affecting such owner's account.

8. Each licensee shall remit to the commission within five days of the day on which the revenue for pari-mutuel taxes, admission taxes, and breeders' funds were collected. The remittance shall be accomplished by a direct deposit in a financial institution designated by the commission. On those days when the fifth day is a holiday or a weekend day, the payment must be made by the succeeding business day. At the close of each month in which racing is conducted, the licensee must report to the commission all deposits of taxes and breeders' funds for that month.

9. On each day that deposits are made by the licensee, a report must be filed with the commission containing the following recapitulation: total retainage, pari-mutuel tax; state and local admissions taxes; purse moneys; total breakage; and breeders' fund taxes.

10. Each licensee shall provide areas within the enclosure where publications, other informational materials, and tip sheets, may be sold to the public. All persons holding a tip sheet concession at the facility must possess a permit from the commission as vendors. Such vendor shall post in a conspicuous place the previous day's tip sheet and the outcome of the races. Such vendor shall deliver one copy of the tip sheet to a commission representative at least one hour before post time.

11. Each licensee shall supervise the practice and procedures of all vendors of food, horse feed, medication, and tack, who are licensed and have access to the stabling area. No licensee by virtue of this regulation shall attempt to control or monopolize proper selling to owners, trainers, or stable employees; nor shall a licensee grant a sole concession to any vendor of feed, racing supplies, or racing services.

12. Each licensee shall provide to the commission copies of all subordinate contracts, in the amount of $15,000 annual gross and above, entered into by the owner, owner-operator, or operator, and such contracts shall be subject to approval of the commission.

13. Each licensee shall submit to the commission each calendar year a request for live racing days for the next calendar year as provided in 11VAC10-20-200. The holder of a license shall schedule no more than 125 days live racing days in the Commonwealth each calendar year; however, the commission may alter the number of live racing days based on what it deems to be in the best interest of the Virginia horse industry.

14. Each licensee shall post in a conspicuous place in every place where pari-mutuel wagering is conducted a sign that bears a toll-free telephone number for "Gamblers Anonymous" or other organization that provides assistance to compulsive gamblers.

B. Facilities. Each licensee shall provide all of the facilities for the conduct of horse racing so as to maintain horse racing of the highest quality and free of any corrupt, incompetent, or dishonest practices and to maintain in horse racing complete honesty and integrity.

1. Prior to the first race meeting at a facility owned or operated by the holder of an unlimited license, the licensee shall provide to the commission a certified report of a qualified surveyor, certifying the grade and measurement of the distances to be run.

a. Distances to be run shall be measured from the starting line at a distance three feet out from the inside rail.

b. The surveyor's report must be approved by the commission's executive secretary prior to the first race day of the meeting.

2. Turf course requirements include the following:

a. The licensee shall maintain an adequate stockpile of growing medium and shall provide an irrigation system or other means of adequately watering the entire turf course evenly.

b. All turf course paths from inside rails to turf courses shall resemble the rest of the terrain, with no rails leading from the main course to the turf courses.

c. A portable rail shall be secure to absorb the impact of a horse.

3. Main track requirements include the following:

a. Each licensee shall provide a safety rail on the inside of each racing surface and such other fencing that is appropriate to safely enclose the racing surface for horses and riders.

b. The rail height shall be from 38 inches to 42 inches from the top of the cushion to the top of the rail. All top rails shall be bolted to poles and shall be smooth with no jagged edges. Rail posts shall be of a gooseneck type design and shall have no less than a 24-inch overhang with a continuous smooth elevated cover over posts.

c. All rails shall be constructed of materials designed to withstand the impact of a horse running at racing speed.

d. All rail posts shall be set in concrete at least six inches below the surface and 24 inches deep. A portable turf rail shall be secure to absorb the impact of a horse. No rail or post shall be used that will not take the impact of a horse or will break away, such as fiberglass, PVC, wood or hedges.

e. The design and construction of rails shall be approved by the commission prior to the first race meeting at the racetrack.

4. Each licensee shall provide distance poles marking off the racing surface and the poles shall be painted in the following colors: quarter poles, red and white; eighth poles, green and white; and sixteenth poles, black and white. All distance poles, including photofinish mirror imaging equipment and any other equipment, shall be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the back of the inside rail.

5. Each licensee shall provide racing surfaces whose construction, elevation, and surfaces have received scientific approval as safe and humane, adequate and proper equipment to maintain the racing surface, and sufficient trained personnel to properly operate the equipment. Daily records of maintenance shall be open for inspection.

6. Each licensee shall provide stabling in a sufficient amount to conduct a successful horse race meeting. The horses shall be quartered in individual stalls with separate feeding and watering facilities. Each barn, including the receiving barn, shall have a hot and cold water supply available, be well-ventilated, have proper drainage to prevent standing water and be constructed to be comfortable in all seasons during which racing is conducted.

7. Each licensee shall provide a stabling area that is maintained in approved sanitary condition with satisfactory drainage, manure, and other refuse kept in separate boxes or containers distant from living quarters, and the boxes or containers promptly and properly removed.

8. Each licensee shall provide a systematic and effective insect control program and programs to eliminate hazards to public health and comfort in the stabling area and throughout the enclosure.

9. Each licensee shall provide satisfactory living quarters for persons employed in the stabling area as well as satisfactory commissary, recreation, and lavatory facilities, and maintain the facilities in a clean and sanitary manner. No employee shall be permitted to sleep in any stall or barn loft.

10. Each licensee shall provide on every racing day satisfactory sanitary toilets and wash rooms, and furnish free drinking water for patrons and persons having business within the enclosure.

11. Each licensee shall provide a paddock where the horses are assembled prior to the post parade. Each licensee shall provide a public viewing area where patrons may watch the activities in the paddock. Each licensee shall also provide a sufficient number of roofed stalls so that horses may be housed during inclement weather.

12. Each licensee shall provide satisfactory facilities for jockeys or drivers who are participating in the day's program. The facilities shall include accommodations for rest and recreation, showers, toilets, wash basins, reducing facilities (sauna or steam room), arrangements for safe keeping of apparel and personal effects, and snack bar during horse race meetings.

13. Each licensee shall maintain an information desk where the public may make complaints regarding the facilities, operations of the licensee, or rulings of the commission. The licensee shall respond promptly to complaints, and inform the commission regarding any alleged violation of its regulations.

14. Each licensee shall maintain a test barn for use by commission employees in securing from horses that have run a race, samples of urine, saliva, blood, or other bodily substances for chemical analysis. The test barn shall include a wash rack, commission veterinarian office, a walking ring, and a sufficient number of stalls each equipped with a window sufficiently large to allow the taking of samples to be witnessed from outside the stall. The test barn shall be located convenient to the racing surface and shall be enclosed by a fence so that unauthorized persons shall be excluded. Space shall be provided for signing in and signing out of permittees whose attendance is required in the test barn.

15. Each licensee shall maintain a receiving barn conveniently located for use by horses arriving for races that are not quartered in the stabling area. The licensee shall have a sufficient number of stalls to accommodate the anticipated number of horses, hot and cold running water, and stall bedding. The licensee shall maintain the receiving barn in a clean and sanitary manner.

16. Each licensee shall provide and maintain lights so as to ensure adequate illumination in the stabling area and parking area. Adequacy of track lighting for night racing shall be determined by the commission.

17. Each licensee shall provide and maintain stands commanding an uninterrupted view of the entire racing surface for the stewards with the location to be approved by the commission. The licensee shall provide patrol judge stands so that the floor shall be at least six feet higher than the track rail. For harness racing, each licensee shall provide space for a patrol judge in the mobile starting gate that will accompany the horses during the race.

18. Each licensee shall furnish office space, approved by the commission, for the commission's use within the enclosure and an appropriate number of parking spaces so that its members and staff may carry out their duties.

19. Each licensee shall submit to the commission, at least 30 days prior to the opening day of a meeting, a complete list of its racing officials, as set forth elsewhere in these regulations, and department heads. No person shall hold any appointment for a horse race meeting unless approved by the commission after determination that the appointee is qualified for his duties, not prohibited by any law of the Commonwealth of Virginia or regulation of the commission, and eligible to hold a permit issued by the commission.

20. Each licensee shall provide a condition book, or for harness racing, a condition sheet, listing the proposed races for the upcoming racing days and prepared by the racing secretary, to the commission at least one week prior to opening day. Additional condition books or condition sheets shall be provided to the commission as soon as published.

21. No licensee shall allow any person to ride in a race or exercise any horse within the enclosure unless that person is wearing a protective helmet with the chin strap buckled. For flat racing, the term "exercising" is defined to include breezing, galloping, or ponying horses.

22. Each licensee shall employ at least three outriders for flat and steeplechase racing to escort starters to the post and to assist in the returning of all horses to the unsaddling area for flat races. No outrider shall lead any horse that has not demonstrated unruliness, but shall assist in the control of any horse that might cause injury to a jockey or driver or others. During racing hours, outriders will wear traditional attire. For flat race meetings, outriders shall be required to be present on the racing strip, mounted, and ready to assist in the control of any unruly horse or to recapture any loose horse, at all times when the track is open for exercising.

23. Each licensee shall employ for flat meets a sufficient number of valets to attend each jockey on a day's program. Valets will be under the immediate supervision and control of the clerk of scales. Each licensee shall provide uniform attire for valets who shall wear the uniform attire at all times while performing their duties within public view.

24. No licensee shall allow any person to ride in a race or to exercise any horse within the enclosure unless that person is wearing a protective safety vest. The vest shall be designed to provide shock-absorbing protection to the upper body of at least a rating of five as defined by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA).

C. Equipment. Each licensee shall provide all of the equipment for the conduct of horse racing so as to maintain horse racing of the highest quality and free of any corrupt, incompetent, dishonest, or unprincipled practices, and to maintain in horse racing complete honesty and integrity.

1. Each licensee shall maintain at least two operable starting gates for flat meetings and two operable mobile starting gates for harness racing. The licensee shall have in attendance one or more persons qualified to keep the starting gates in good working order and provide for periodic inspection. For flat meetings, the licensee shall also make at least one starting gate along with adequate personnel available for schooling for two hours each day during training hours, exclusive of nonrace days. For flat race meetings, the licensee shall have an adequate number of assistant starters to ensure the integrity of the start and to provide safe conditions for horse and rider. If a flat race is started at a place other than in a chute, the licensee shall maintain in good operating condition backup equipment for moving the starting gate. The backup equipment must be immediately available to replace the primary moving equipment in the event of failure. For harness racing meetings, a mobile starting gate shall be made available for qualifying races and schooling.

2. Each licensee shall maintain photo-finish equipment to assist the stewards and placing judges, where employed for flat race meetings, in determining the order of finish of each race. The licensee shall provide two electronic photofinish devices with mirror images to photograph the finish of each race. The location and operation of the photofinish devices must be approved by the commission before its first use in a race. The licensee shall ensure that the photofinish devices are calibrated before the first day of each race meeting and at other times as required by the commission. The standards and operations of the photo-finish camera as well as the methodology of the personnel shall be subject to the approval of the stewards:

a. The photo-finish photographer shall promptly furnish the stewards and placing judges prints as they are requested, and the photographer will promptly inform the stewards and placing judges of any malfunction of his equipment;

b. A print of a photo finish where the placing of horse is a half of length or less shall be displayed either by posting copies of the print or video means to the public promptly after the race has been declared "official"; and

c. Each licensee shall be responsible for maintaining a file of photo finishes of all races for one year after the closing of the horse race meeting.

3. Each licensee shall provide color video tape recordings of the running of each race clearly showing the position and actions of the horse and jockeys or drivers at close range. Each licensee shall provide at least three cameras to record panoramic and head-on views of the race. One camera shall be located on the finish line:

a. Promptly after a race has been declared "official," video tape recordings shall be replayed for the benefit of the public. In those races where there was a disqualification, video tapes of the head-on views may also be shown with an explanation by the public address announcer.

b. The licensee shall safeguard the tapes of all videotapes for one year after the close of the horse race meeting.

c. The stewards may, in their discretion, direct a video camera operator to videotape the activities of any horses or persons handling horses prior to, during or following a race.

4. Each licensee shall provide an electronic timing system. The system shall have the capability of timing the leading horse in at least hundredths of a second. Each licensee shall also provide a qualified person to manually time each race, including splits of each quarter of a mile, in the event of a malfunction of the electronic system.

5. Each licensee shall provide an internal communication system which links the stewards' stand, racing secretary's office, pari-mutuel department, jockeys' or drivers' room, paddock, test barn, commission veterinarian's office, starting gate, film patrol office, ambulances, public address announcer, patrol judges, and any other personnel designated by the commission.

6. Each licensee shall provide a public address system whereby calls of the races and other pertinent information may be communicated to the public. This system shall be utilized by a qualified person, and the system shall have the capability of transmitting throughout the stabling area.

7. Each licensee shall provide a totalizator and employ qualified personnel to operate the system, provide maintenance of the hardware, software, and ancillary wagering devices, and be able to perform emergency repairs in case of emergencies. The licensee shall also provide a mutuel board in the infield where approximate odds, amounts wagered in the win, place, and show pools on each betting interest, and other pertinent information may be prominently displayed to the public:

a. The totalizator shall maintain at least two independent sets of pool totals and compare them at least once every 60 seconds. The totalizator shall record in a system log file any difference in the final pool totals;

b. The totalizator shall have the capability of calculating the mutuel pools, approximate odds, probable payoffs and display them to the public at intervals of not more than 60 seconds;

c. The totalizator shall have the capability of being locked and wagering terminated automatically at the command of a steward. Any failure of the system to lock at the start of the race shall be reported immediately by the mutuel manager to the stewards;

d. The totalizator shall have the capability of displaying the probable payouts on various combinations in the daily double, exacta, and quinella wagering, and displaying the payoffs to the public;

e. The totalizator shall have the capability of recording the wagering by individual wagers, including the amount wagered, the betting interest, and the mutuel window where the wager was placed. The records of the wagering shall be promptly made available to the commission upon request. The licensee shall preserve the records of the wagering for one year after closing of the horse race meeting. The records shall not be destroyed without permission of the commission;

f. The personnel operating the totalizator shall report immediately to the stewards any malfunction in the system, or what they perceive to be any unusual patterns in the wagering;

g. The totalizator personnel shall make available to the commission any special reports or requests that may assist the commission in carrying out its statutory duties and responsibilities for the conduct of horse racing; and

h. The commission may require an independent certified audit of the totalizator's software attesting to the accuracy of its calculations and the integrity of its accounting processes.

8. Each licensee shall provide at least one human ambulance and at least one equine ambulance within the enclosure at all times during those hours when the racing and training surface is open for racing and exercising. However, a human ambulance shall not be required to be present during the exercising of Standardbred horses. The ambulances shall be manned and equipped to render immediate assistance, and shall be stationed at a location approved by the stewards.

a. The equine ambulance must be a covered vehicle that is low to the ground and large enough to accommodate a horse in distress. The equine ambulance must be able to navigate on the racetrack during all weather conditions and transport a horse outside the enclosure.

b. The equine ambulance must be equipped with large portable screens to shield a horse from public view, ramps to facilitate loading a horse, adequate means of loading a horse that is down, a rear door and a door on each side, a padded interior, a movable partition to initially provide more room to load a horse and to later restrict a horse's movement, a shielded area for the person who is attending to the horse, and an adequate area for the storage of water and veterinary medicines and equipment.

c. A licensee shall not conduct a race unless an equine ambulance or a commission veterinarian-approved substitute is readily available.

d. The equine ambulance, its supplies and attendants, and the operating procedures for the vehicle must be approved by the commission veterinarian.

e. The licensee shall maintain a properly equipped human ambulance, staffed with certified paramedics at any time the racetrack is open for racing or exercising horses. However, a human ambulance shall not be required to be present during the exercising of Standardbred horses. If the ambulance is being used to transport an individual, horses may not be raced or exercised until the ambulance is replaced.

f. Unless otherwise approved by the stewards, a human ambulance shall follow the field at a safe distance during the running of races, or in the event of inclement weather, two ambulances shall be parked to render immediate service. The human ambulance must be parked at an entrance to the racing surface unless the ambulance is being used to transport a person or when it is following the field during the running of a race.

g. During a racing day, the licensee shall maintain a first aid room equipped with at least two beds and other appropriate equipment, and the services of at least one physician during flat race meetings.

9. Each licensee shall maintain lighting for the racetrack and the patron facilities that is adequate to ensure the safety and security of the patrons, participants and horses. Lighting to ensure the proper operation of the videotape and photofinish devices must be approved by the commission.

a. The licensee shall maintain adequate additional lighting in the stable area as required by the commission.

b. If racing is conducted at night, the licensee shall maintain a backup lighting system that is sufficient to ensure the safety of patrons, participants and horses.

D. Safety. Each licensee shall employ sufficient trained personnel to provide for the safety and security of the public and others who have business within the enclosure. Each licensee shall also take all measures to prevent the outbreak of fires within the enclosure and develop plans for the quick extinguishing of any fires that should occur.

1. Each licensee shall provide sufficient trained security personnel under the supervision of a qualified director of security. If the licensee contracts with a private security service, the security service must be bonded and meet all applicable licensing requirements. If the licensee establishes its own security force, then director of security shall forward to the commission detailed plans for the screening, hiring, and training of its own personnel.

2. The director of security of each licensee shall cooperate fully with the commission and its staff, federal and state law-enforcement agencies, local police and fire departments, and industry security services to enforce all laws and regulations to ensure that horse racing in the Commonwealth of Virginia is of the highest integrity.

3. Each licensee shall develop a detailed security plan describing the equipment (i.e., fences, locks, alarms, and monitoring devices); the procedures to admit persons to restricted areas (i.e., stabling area, paddock, jockeys' or drivers' room, vault, mutuel lines, totalizator room, and test barn); and the trained personnel in sufficient numbers to provide for the safety and security of all persons during racing and nonracing hours.

4. Each licensee may provide a perimeter fence around the entire enclosure, but shall fence off the stabling area. The entrance to the stabling area shall be guarded on a 24-hour basis by uniformed security personnel so that unauthorized persons shall be denied access to the restricted stabling area. The licensee shall also provide for routine patrolling by uniformed security personnel on a 24-hour basis within the stabling area.

5. During racing hours, the licensee shall provide uniformed security personnel to guard the entrances to the paddock, jockeys' or drivers' room, and other restricted areas as may be deemed appropriate by the commission so that unauthorized persons shall be denied access to them.

6. The licensee's director of security shall submit to the commission a written report describing every arrest or completed incident of security investigation or rule violation including the person charged, the charges against the person, the present whereabouts of the person, and disposition of the charges, if any.

7. The licensee's director of security shall submit to the commission a detailed plan describing the procedures to be followed in case of fire or any other emergency within the enclosure. The plan shall contain the resources immediately available within the surrounding communities to cope with fire or other emergencies, route of evacuation for the public, controlling traffic, and those resources available from the surrounding communities for police, fire, ambulance, and rescue services.

8. Each licensee shall observe and enforce all state and local building codes and regulations pertaining to fire prevention, and shall prohibit the following:

a. Smoking in horse stalls, feed rooms, or under the shedrow;

b. Open fires and oil or gasoline burning lanterns or lamps in the stable area;

c. The unsafe use of electrical appliances or other devices which would pose a hazard to structures, horses, permittees, or the public; and

d. Keeping flammable materials including cleaning fluids or solvents in the stabling area.

Statutory Authority

§ 59.1-369 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR662-01-02 § 2.18, Volume 06, Issue 10, eff. March 14, 1990; Volume 20, Issue 23, eff. August 25, 2004; Volume 28, Issue 13, eff. March 27, 2012; Volume 29, Issue 13, eff. March 1, 2013; Volume 31, Issue 25, eff. September 9, 2015.

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