2005 Regular Session
By: Representative Compretta
AN ACT TO LEGALIZE PARI-MUTUEL WAGERING ON HORSE RACES; TO PROVIDE THAT THE MISSISSIPPI GAMING COMMISSION SHALL EXERCISE CONTROL OVER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; TO PROVIDE THAT HORSE RACING MAY ONLY BE CONDUCTED IN COUNTIES WHERE GAMING IS LEGAL; TO SET FORTH THE DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION; TO PROVIDE FOR THE OPERATION OF A RACETRACK OR RACE MEETING SCHEDULE; TO AUTHORIZE THE COMMISSION TO PROMULGATE RULES ON PARI-MUTUEL WAGERING; TO PROVIDE THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT SHALL NOT APPLY TO CERTAIN RACES; TO PROVIDE FOR THE METHOD OF PARI-MUTUEL WAGERING; TO PROVIDE FOR DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS; TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON SHALL BE GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR FOR CONDUCTING WAGERING NOT AUTHORIZED BY THIS ACT; TO PROVIDE THAT ANY PERSON WHO ENGAGES IN THE PRACTICE OF GAMBLING SHALL BE INELIGIBLE TO OPERATE A RACETRACK; TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON SHALL BE GUILTY OF A FELONY FOR PREARRANGING RESULTS OF A RACE; TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON SHALL BE GUILTY OF A FELONY FOR UNLAWFUL TRANSMISSION OF RACE RESULTS; TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON SHALL BE GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR FOR UNLAWFULLY PURCHASING PARI-MUTUEL TICKETS; TO RESTRICT MINORS FROM RACES; TO AUTHORIZE THE COMMISSION TO APPROVE COMPUTATIONAL EQUIPMENT; TO ALLOW THE COMMISSION TO EMPLOY SECURITY FORCES; TO ALLOW THE COMMISSION TO ADOPT REGULATIONS PROHIBITING THE USE OF DRUGS ON THE ANIMALS; TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS ARE NOT LIABLE FOR ENFORCEMENT OF THIS ACT; TO AUTHORIZE THE COMMISSION TO REVOKE OR SUSPEND AN ASSOCIATION'S CERTIFICATION FOR FAILURE TO COOPERATE WITH THE COMMISSION; TO AMEND SECTIONS 75-76-28 AND 75-76-33, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Sections 1 through 20 of this act legalize wagering on horse races under the form of mutuel wagering by patrons known as "pari-mutuel wagering" to the extent that the wagering is conducted strictly in conformity with Sections 1 through 20 of this act.
SECTION 2. The Mississippi Gaming Commission shall exercise control over the provisions of Section 1 through 20 of this act. As used in Sections 1 through 20 of this act, the term "commission" means the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
SECTION 3. Pari-mutuel racing of horses shall only be allowed in counties that have legalized gaming.
SECTION 4. (1) The commission shall carry out the provisions of Sections 1 through 20 of this act, and it shall have the following specific duties:
(a) To make rules governing the employment of all persons connected with racetracks, including gatekeepers, announcers, ushers, starters, officials, drivers, owners, agents, trainers, jockeys, grooms, stable foremen, exercise boys, veterinarians, valets, sellers of racing forms or bulletins, and attendants in connection with the wagering machines;
(b) To make rules governing, permitting and regulating the wagering on races under the form of mutuel wagering by patrons known as "pari-mutuel wagering";
(c) To fix and set dates upon which race meetings may be held or operated;
(d) To make an annual report to the Legislature, showing its own actions and rulings, and receipts derived under the provisions of this act, and such suggestions as it may deem proper for the more effective accomplishment of the purposes of this act;
(e) To require each applicant to set forth on the application for authority to operate a race meeting the following information:
(i) The full name of the person, association or corporation, and if a corporation, the name of the state under which it is incorporated, a certified copy of its charter and bylaws, and the name of the corporation's agent for service of process within the State of Mississippi;
(ii) If an association or corporation, the names of the stockholders and directors of the corporation or the names of the officers and directors of the association or of any person having a financial interest in the corporation or association. It is the intent of this requirement that the financial interests of all natural persons be revealed and not be hidden behind a corporate structure;
(iii) The exact location where the applicant desires to conduct or hold a race meeting and a complete set of an architect's renderings and detailed construction plans, showing the site topography, the type of construction, the track design and the concession plans;
(iv) Whether the racing track is owned or leased, and if leased, the name and address of the owner, or if the owner is a corporation, the names of the officers and directors thereof;
(v) The kind of racing to be conducted and the dates upon which racing is requested to be conducted; and
(vi) Such other information as the commission may require;
(f) To require an oath of every applicant, or of the president or executive officer of the association or corporation, stating that the information contained in the application is true;
(g) To make uniform rules and regulations governing the operation of all racetracks, race meetings and races in the county;
(h) To compel the production of any and all books, memoranda or documents showing the receipts and disbursements of any person, association or corporation authorized to conduct race meetings under the provisions of this act;
(i) To require the removal of any employee or official employed by any operator authorized hereunder whenever it has reason to believe that such employee or official is guilty of any improper practice in connection with racing or has failed to comply with any rule adopted by the commission;
(j) To require that the books and financial or other statements of any operator be kept in a manner and method prescribed by the commission;
(k) To visit, investigate and place auditors and inspectors in the offices, tracks or place of business of any person, association or corporation operating under the jurisdiction of the commission;
(l) To summon witnesses before its meetings, to administer oaths to such witnesses and to require testimony on any issue before it; and
(m) To employ such assistants and employees as may be necessary and to prescribe their compensation and duties.
(2) Any person failing to appear before the commission, or failing to produce books, records and documents ordered, or refusing to testify thereon, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or by imprisonment not to exceed six (6) months, or by both.
(3) Nothing in Sections 1 through 20 of this act prevents any person, association or corporation from applying to the commission for a permit to conduct races at a location where the racing track has not been constructed.
(4) (a) Each person authorized to operate a race meeting pursuant to Sections 1 through 20 of this act and each owner or lessor of a racing track under the jurisdiction of the commission must be a bona fide resident of the State of Mississippi for a period of not less than five (5) years immediately preceding the date of application for such authority.
(b) Each director, officer, general partner, principal or other individual having a substantial financial interest in a corporation, partnership, limited partnership or other entity that is authorized to operate a race meeting in accordance with Sections 1 through 20 of this act, or is the owner or lessor of a racing track under the jurisdiction of the commission, must be a resident of the State of Mississippi for a period of not less than five (5) years immediately preceding the date of application for such authority.
(c) Each individual subject to the provisions of this subsection must file with the commission a statement disclosing economic interest and financial activities in such form and at such times as may be required by the commission.
(5) The commission shall adopt a schedule of fees. In addition to any fee or schedule of fees for employee permits, premises license or other activity charged by the commission, the commission shall require a fee from each applicant for a license to operate a race meeting which will defray the initial expenses of the commission. The fee shall be payable upon application and periodically thereafter in an amount to be established by the commission. Additional assessments may be made at any time on order of the commission in order to fund the commission's operations, including funds for the investigation of applicants. In the event there is more than one (1) applicant or licensee, the fees and assessments shall be apportioned in an equitable manner among the licensees and applicants pursuant to rules adopted by the commission.
All operations of the commission shall be funded by periodic assessment of permit holders, license fees, permit fees and other similar premises licenses. All funds derived from such fees shall be deposited in a special account created in the State Treasury entitled the "Mississippi Horse Racing Fees Fund."
SECTION 5. (1) The commission may not authorize the operation of a racetrack or race meeting schedule for a period of more than twelve (12) consecutive months by any one (1) entity. The commission may not deny unreasonably the continued operation of a horse racetrack or horse meeting without good cause. Authority granted to any entity under this act is not transferable to any other place, track or enclosure, except as may be specified in the application.
(2) The commission may not authorize two (2) horse racetracks or horse race meetings to operate on the same racing days.
(3) The commission may suspend or revoke its authorization to any person conducting a horse race meeting in violation of any of the provisions of Sections 1 through 20 of this act, of any statute or ordinance, or of any rule or regulation promulgated by the commission, or it may invoke a civil penalty not to exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) per offense in lieu thereof.
SECTION 6. The commission shall make rules regulating the wagering on horse races under the form of mutuel wagering by patrons known as "pari-mutuel wagering," which method is legal to the extent that it is conducted strictly in conformity with Sections 1 through 20 of this act. However, trifecta wagering shall be prohibited. Only the persons, associations or corporations specifically granted the requisite authority by the commission have the right or privilege to conduct pari-mutuel wagering. Such authorization shall restrict and confine this form of wagering to a space within the horse race meeting grounds. All other forms of wagering on the result of races are illegal, and any wagering outside of the enclosure of such horse races is illegal.
SECTION 7. The provisions of Sections 1 through 20 of this act do not apply to the running of horse races wherein wagering is not conducted, or to the running of horse races conducted by a state fair association or county fair association that holds not more than one (1) meeting annually and that restricts such annual meeting to fourteen (14) days or less.
SECTION 8. (1) The authorized operator of a pari-mutuel pool may take out seventeen percent (17%) of the total amount contributed to the pari-mutuel pool for win, place and show wagering and twenty-five percent (25%) on all other forms of pari-mutuel wagering.
(2) From the funds taken out as authorized in subsection (1) of this section, every entity conducting horse race meetings under this act shall pay to the commission an amount equal to forty percent (40%) of the total amount contributed to all wagering pools conducted or made under Sections 1 through 20 of this act. The remainder of the funds taken out as authorized in subsection (1) of this section shall be divided as follows: thirty percent (30%) for purses for horses; and thirty percent (30%) to the authorized operator.
(3) After the deduction of the funds taken out as authorized in subsection (1) of this section, the remainder of the total contributions to each pool shall be divided among and redistributed to the contributors to such pools betting on the winning animals. The amount of each redistribution for each winning bet placed shall be determined by dividing the total amount remaining in the pool, after the deductions set forth in subsections (1) and (2) of this section are made, by the number of bets placed on the winning animal. Each redistribution shall be made in a sum equal to the next lowest multiple of ten (10). The operator may retain the odd cents on all redistributions to be known as the "breaks to a dime." Under the pari-mutuel system of wagering herein provided, the operator may provide separate pools for bets to win, place and show, for daily double, and for exactas. Each pool shall be redistributed separately as herein provided. Should there be no ticket bet on the winning animal, the entire pool shall be divided among the holders of tickets on the animal running next in line until the pool has been redistributed to the contributors. The operator must use a totalizator machine or a machine or device having similar functions and capabilities to record the wagering and compute the odds. Rules and regulations governing the operation of each of the pools shall be set out in book form by the commission.
SECTION 9. (1) All funds received by the commission under the provisions of Sections 1 through 20 of this act, except fees and assessments authorized in Section 4(5) of this act, shall be paid into a special account created in the State Treasury entitled the "Mississippi Horse Racing Operations Fund."
(2) All monies remaining after payment of the expenses incurred in the administration of Sections 1 through 20 of this act, including the payment of the salaries and expenses of the members and employees of the commission, shall be distributed monthly to the general fund of the county where such monies were generated for a racetrack located in a county outside of any municipal corporate limits. If the racetrack is located in a municipality, the distribution shall be fifty percent (50%) to the county general fund and fifty percent (50%) to the municipal general fund.
(3) The funds shall be distributed periodically by order of the commission.
SECTION 10. Any corporation, association or person who directly or indirectly holds any race where wagering is permitted otherwise than as prescribed in Sections 1 through 20 of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person wagering upon the results of such a race, except in the pari-mutuel method of wagering when the same is conducted by an operator and upon the grounds or enclosure of the operator under the jurisdiction of the commission, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any corporation, organization, association or person who violates any provision of Sections 1 through 20 of this act for which a penalty is not expressly provided shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction of any of the above misdemeanors, the penalty shall be a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), nor more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or by imprisonment of not less than five (5) days nor more than six (6) months, or both.
SECTION 11. (1) Any person who engages in the practice of gambling on races, or in the practice of making gambling or wagering books on such races, or who knowingly takes any part in such practices, is ineligible to operate a racetrack or a race meeting under the provisions of Sections 1 through 20 of this act, or to be connected therewith in any capacity.
(2) Any association or corporation which has as an officer, director, stockholder, executive, or which employs any person who engages in the practices set forth in subsection (1) of this section is ineligible to operate a race meeting under the provisions of Sections 1 through 20 of this act or to be connected therewith in any capacity.
(3) The commission may inquire into such matters as set forth in subsection (1) of this section in administering Sections 1 through 20 of this act.
SECTION 12. Any person who influences or has any understanding or connivance with any owner, groom or other person associated with or interested in any stable or horse, or race in which any horse participates, to prearrange or predetermine the results of any such race, or any person who shall stimulate or depresses a horse for the purpose of affecting the results of a race, shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned in the State Penitentiary for not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years, or shall be fined not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or both.
SECTION 13. It is unlawful for any person to transmit or communicate to another by any means whatsoever the results, changing odds, track conditions or any other information relating to any race from any racetrack in the county, between the period of time beginning one (1) hour before the first race of any day and ending thirty (30) minutes after the posting of the official results of each race, as to that particular race, except that this period may be reduced to permit the transmitting of the results of the last race each day not sooner than fifteen (15) minutes after the official posting of such results. The commission, by rule, may permit the immediate transmission by radio, television or press wire of any pertinent information concerning feature races.
It is unlawful for any person to transmit by any means whatsoever racing information to any other person, or to relay the same to any other person by word of mouth, by signal, or by use of telephone, telegraph, radio or any other means, when the information is knowingly used or intended to be used for illegal gambling purposes, or in the furtherance of such gambling purposes.
Any person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned in the State Penitentiary for not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years, or shall be fined not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or both.
SECTION 14. It is unlawful for any person to purchase directly or indirectly pari-mutuel tickets or participate in the purchase of any part of a pari-mutuel pool for another for hire or for any gratuity. It is unlawful for any person to purchase any part of a pari-mutuel pool through another, wherein he gives or pays directly or indirectly to such other person anything of value. Any person violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or by imprisonment not to exceed six (6) months, or both.
SECTION 15. Persons under twenty-one (21) years of age may not be permitted to wager on races and persons under eighteen (18) years of age may not enter the viewing section unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
SECTION 16. The calculation of wagering is limited to commission approved state-of-the-art computational equipment. The commission must approve the information printed on each pari-mutuel ticket.
SECTION 17. An adequate security force shall be employed as prescribed by the commission. Members of security forces have the same powers as other law enforcement officers of the county while performing their duties on the premises of the racetrack.
SECTION 18. (1) The commission may adopt rules prohibiting the illegal influencing of the outcome of a race, including the use of medication, stimulants or depressants to influence the outcome of the race. The commission may require prerace and postrace drug testing as needed to determine whether a drug has been administered. Detection of prohibited drugs or chemicals shall result in the immediate disqualification of the animal and the suspension of all persons involved. Responsibility for the protection of the animal from illegal drugging is placed on the trainer of each animal. A drug test also may be required by the owner or trainer of an animal or by the association at whose racetrack the animal is entered in a race meeting. Knowing violations of this section shall result in the barring of the person or persons from receiving a license under this act or from participating in any legalized pari-mutuel wagering or horse racing authorized by Sections 1 through 20 of this act, for a period set by the commission or for life.
(2) A licensee may conduct any other lawful business on the licensee's premises.
SECTION 19. A member of the commission, an employee of the commission, a steward or judge, an association, or any other person regulated under Sections 1 through 20 of this act is not liable to any individual, corporation, business association or other entity for a cause of action that arises out of that person's performance or exercise of discretion in the implementation or enforcement of Sections 1 through 20 of this act or a rule adopted under Sections 1 through 20 of this act if the person has acted in good faith.
SECTION 20. If an operator or racing association refuses to cooperate with the commission or other state agency regarding access to its books and records, or if it becomes delinquent in turning over the state's portion of the pools, the commission immediately shall call a hearing to revoke or suspend the association's certification or take other appropriate action as deemed necessary by the commission.
SECTION 21. Section 75-76-28, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
75-76-28. The commission has full power and authority to exercise any of the powers, duties and responsibilities set forth in Sections 97-33-51 through 97-33-81, 97-33-101 through 97-33-109, 97-33-201 and 97-33-203 and Sections 1 through 20 of House Bill No. 1275, 2005 Regular Session.
SECTION 22. Section 75-76-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
75-76-33. (1) The commission shall, from time to time, adopt, amend or repeal such regulations, consistent with the policy, objects and purposes of this chapter, as it may deem necessary or desirable in the public interest in carrying out the policy and provisions of this chapter.
(2) These regulations shall, without limiting the general powers herein conferred, include the following:
(a) Prescribing the method and form of application which any applicant for a license or for a manufacturer's, seller's or distributor's license must follow and complete before consideration of his application by the executive director or the commission.
(b) Prescribing the information to be furnished by any applicant or licensee concerning his antecedents, habits, character, associates, criminal record, business activities and financial affairs, past or present.
(c) Prescribing the information to be furnished by a licensee relating to his employees.
(d) Requiring fingerprinting of an applicant or licensee, and gaming employees of a licensee, or other methods of identification and the forwarding of all fingerprints taken pursuant to regulation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
(e) Prescribing the manner and procedure of all hearings conducted by the commission or any hearing examiner of the commission, including special rules of evidence applicable thereto and notices thereof.
(f) Requiring any applicant to pay all or any part of the fees and costs of investigation of such applicant as may be determined by the commission, except that no applicant for an initial license shall be required to pay any part of the fees or costs of the investigation of the applicant with regard to the initial license.
(g) Prescribing the manner and method of collection and payment of fees and issuance of licenses.
(h) Prescribing under what conditions a licensee may be deemed subject to revocation or suspension of his license.
(i) Requiring any applicant or licensee to waive any privilege with respect to any testimony at any hearing or meeting of the commission, except any privilege afforded by the Constitution of the United States or this state.
(j) Defining and limiting the area, games and devices permitted, and the method of operation of such games and devices, for the purposes of this chapter.
(k) Prescribing under what conditions the nonpayment of a gambling debt by a licensee shall be deemed grounds for revocation or suspension of his license.
(l) Governing the use and approval of gambling devices and equipment.
(m) Prescribing the qualifications of, and the conditions under which, attorneys, accountants and others are permitted to practice before the commission.
(n) Restricting access to confidential information obtained under this chapter and ensuring that the confidentiality of such information is maintained and protected.
(o) Prescribing the manner and procedure by which the executive director on behalf of the commission shall notify a county or a municipality wherein an applicant for a license desires to locate.
(p) Prescribing the manner and procedure for an objection to be filed with the commission and the executive director by a county or municipality wherein an applicant for a license desires to locate.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, each licensee shall be required to comply with the following regulations:
(a) No wagering shall be allowed on the outcome of any athletic event, nor on any matter to be determined during an athletic event, nor on the outcome of any event which does not take place on the premises.
(b) No wager may be placed by, or on behalf of, any individual or entity or group, not present on a licensed vessel or cruise vessel.
(4) The commission is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of Sections 1 through 20 of House Bill No. 457, 2005 Regular Session.
SECTION 23. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.