Known as the ‘sports for kings,’ horse racing has been around for centuries. Compared to all other sports, it is one of the oldest to exist. And one of the most lucrative as well, contributing about $39 billion to the economy. Though it has gone through numerous changes over time, the game’s central premise remains the same: to have the genetically superior and faster horse win.
To make sure that the horse racing industry continues to prosper, there have been certain standards set to make it a formal sport. It contains rules that every racer, bettor, and trainer need to follow in terms of the horse’s health, the race itself, if any banned substances are being used, and betting. Australia is home to such amazing races including the George Ryder Stakes, Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Sydney Racing Carnival.
Without any governing body overseeing the racing and betting, there would be utter chaos. It would be infested with all sorts of illegal activities, and the horses would frequently be suffering from health problems and hazards.
Regulation of the Horse Racing Industry
The industry had faced several issues over time that made it necessary for centralized laws and regulatory bodies to be placed. In most parts of the world, there are two governing bodies handling horse racing rules and laws. The governing bodies make sure that all premier horse racing events taking place within the boundaries of Australia must go on with complete transparency and best practices. Racing Carnivals in Sydney, Melbourne Cup, George Ryder Stakes and Caulfield guineas are notable names among top horse racing events.
This also results in different penalties, rules, and requirements. Each of these may vary from state to state. However, all in all, the entire industry is tightly regulated by these bodies, which control everything. This ensures the safety of both the horses and the riders. Depending on the state, these commissions deal either solely with racing or encompass other aspects of horse racing as well.
Regulatory Bodies in The Horse Racing Industry
While every state has its own horse racing commission, certain regulatory bodies govern the rules of the entire industry in Australia. These too exert control over the rules, requirements, and betting in the races. However, compared to the state commissions, they exert limited control. These bodies are:
The Jockey Club
This is the oldest horse racing association, having started in 1894. It was put in place to standardize the sport, which was not at all formal at the time. It consistently aims to improve Thoroughbred racing, though it does not have any real power today. The Jockey Club is primarily responsible for setting the racing colors and the rules pertaining to racetracks.
National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA)
Though this is not exactly a regulatory body within the industry, it still holds responsibility for advertising and marketing the sport. It mainly does this through advertisements aimed towards the younger and more affluent demographic.
National Steeplechase Association (NSA)
It is the governing authority for steeplechasing and holds a vital role within the horse racing industry. The association holds the power of licensing racers, approving racetracks, and administering various rules of racing and race entries.
Regulations for First Time Horse Racers
If you are interested in horse racing, you will need to obtain a license in order to be eligible to do so. These governing bodies are also responsible for licensing. You will need to apply to the racing commission, after which you will be able to compete in races and avail all the services they provide. The requirements for licensing may vary depending on the state.
Moreover, complying with the laws set by your state’s horse racing commission is absolutely necessary because otherwise, you might be heavily penalized.
Shortcomings of the Horse Racing Industry Regulations
Since horse racing is a national sport, it demands centralized control rather than state-by-state regulations. Due to this reason, there is an overall lack of uniformity in setting the rules and approving licenses. This is why there have been devastating incidents involving the drugging of racehorses over the last few years.
With a centralized body of governance, there would be an even playing field with the same rules for every racer. Moreover, it would also respond to issues efficiently compared to the current state of the organization. Therefore, premier events like George Ryder Stakes, Victoria Cup and Autumn Racing Carnivals are monitored closely by multiple authorities.
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