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Fonner Park Removes Race Data From Interstate Feeds

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on February 14, 2023 - Last Updated on February 16, 2023
nebraska pari-mutuel fonner park horse racing

Fonner Park, a thoroughbred horse racing facility in Grand Island, Nebraska, canceled offering its interstate horse betting feed until further notice.

In other words, the Nebraska racetrack will no longer provide betting on Fonner Park races via a pari-mutuel tote feed outside the state.

This decision results from the complications with the federal implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA). Fonner Park had many uncertainties associated with HISA. As Paulick Report informed, Fonner Park CEO Chris Kotulak said:

“The unreasonable and overreaching HISA rules and regulations have presented demands and obstacles that a racetrack our size cannot achieve or endure.”

Fonner Park becomes the third racetrack to oppose HISA

According to HISA, tracks that are not covered by the organization cannot offer interstate horse betting. Fonner Park does not operate under HISA.

The Nebraska racetrack also noted that increased costs and the conflict between state and federal racing rules led to its decision.

Fonner Park is now the third horse racing track not to offer simulcasting to other states under HISA. When the interstate wagering prohibition for tracks under HISA took effect July 1, Lone Star Park was the first to oppose HISA’s introduction. Sam Houston Race Park followed suit this winter, both upon the direction of the Texas Racing Commission.

Fonner Park will not be challenging federal regulations

Kotulak and his team decided to avoid challenging federal rules as it would only damage the Nebraska racetrack and its horsemen. As he explained:

“Fonner Park is a plaintiff in a large, national, multi-plaintiff lawsuit against HISA, but that lawsuit has not advanced with sufficient clarity to ensure that HISA rules would not be applicable to us. Challenging federal regulations is a gamble my board has currently chosen not to make, as this would leave Fonner Park splayed open and at the mercy of a lengthy judicial process and costly legal circumstances that would significantly damage Fonner Park and our horsemen.

We’re not some gyp joint, we’re a TRA racetrack. And for seventy years we’ve provided for our horses, horsemen and horseplayers. It’s a shame it’s come to this.”

Fonner Park’s meeting began Feb. 10 and will continue until May 6.

HISA’s Anti-Doping program put on hold

HISA has recently established a new Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) program for horse racing. The horse racing organization planned to launch its drug-testing program on Jan. 1 but the Federal Trade Commission declined to approve it. While HISA intends to resubmit the program, it is officially put on hold.

For the time being, HISA said it plans to continue enforcing safety rules. States like California and Kentucky will remain in control of their drug testing programs. Meanwhile, other states will continue doing their own drug testing.

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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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