Reviews New Yorks Racing Law, Daily Racing Form, 1913-01-26


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REVIEWS NEW YORKS RACING LAW. In making its recommendation to the Legislature for Ihe repeal of the act holding directors of racing irersonallj responsible for violations of the aim bookmaking statutes, the Stale Rai ing Commis ■ion of New Yoik entered into a review and discussion of the laws recently passed in New York siatc ..ii the subject. Extracts from the cansmis ■ ions i epoi i fol|..w : "We call attention to this subject al this time because we believe that thoroughbred racing can be re-establish d in New York by the enactment of e simple lair and reasonable statute. In order to make the matter clear, we wash to tirst state precisely what th" racing law was and is. •The racing law of 1895 was passed after the most can ful consideration and examination. II was intended to do just what it title Stated; I" wit: to improve the breed of horses: and 11 proposed to do so lo encouraging thoroughbred racing, bui only under careful regulation and restriction. The general plan of the statute and iis earlj amendments W..s I., est;||M;sl| a state CI lllllll issioll Wllidl slW.tld have jurisdiction of th" whole subject, to be eom |.sed of Btate oihcers. appointed bj tin- gw rnor. and serving without compensation; to provide that running races could only be t ducted by corpora trans organized witli the approval «t tin- commit sion; that tin commission could grant lit enaes to ci,: duet such races, and could revoke them: and that racing without the license of ihe commission should be unlawful |exc pi trotting races and races o., ducted b liana fide fair associations. The racing was limited by the statute to the period Ix-twiii April 1.". and November tfi in each year. Sundays ex bided. The foregoing portion* of the statute still remain In force. ■■There were two other prominent features of the statute. iz.: lirst. that a person who upon a licensed race course should Make or record a be: upon a race then and there taking place, should for fell the value of the money wagered, to be recoi eicd by civ i I process and thai this should be the only uenalt] for SUCh m Its where there was at ex change or transfer of any record ot memorandum of any such b I •: wager; second, thai where tin dlrec tors of the racing association should complj wil-i the law. they should not be personally liable I" prosecution for violation of the law in respect of gambling bj other persons, unless such violation was knowingly permitted, and that the maintenance of such race course should not. of itself, be construed to be a violation of the provisions of the penal cole in respect of gambling. Under the provisions ..f this law thoroughbred racing, which had theretofore been In a disorganised condition, was put upon a tirm basis in this state, and bee inn- prosperous and popular. The BMoria trans were enabled to offer valuable stakes and prizes upwards of ,500,000 of prizes being dis tributed among the owners of thoroughbred horses in the year I.MiT: iniuv great breeding farms wen established; horses of the highest type were produced, and our racing compared favorably wilh thai ol an.v conn r.v in Ihe World. "In 1908 and 1910 various Statutes were passed, under which the race courses in New York bare been closed. The feature* of these statutes may be cob veniently stated as follows: "1. Various amendments were made to the penul cd" in respect of bookmaking and gambling generally. Y th i hoso amendments we have nothing io do. and it is not our purpose lo disco — them, not to Silvio -i an.v change in respect thereof. "-. The repeal of the provision mentioned establishing the civil penalty only, for niakinu or re.. .riling a l ot upon a licensed race track. It is nut our purpose to criticise that amendment. ".;. Tile repeal in 1910 of ihe provisions above re ferred to. which exempted the directors ami officers of the racing associations from prosecution and lia biliiy for violations of tic gambling law by third parties, unless such violations were knowingly icr-mitted. In tic opinioi oi tins commission this last amendment was unwise. It has had the effect ■. deterring iiu- opening of the men course*, because tic proprietors thereof are unwilling to run ihe risk of criminal prosecution for acts committed by others, eve:- which thej cuild have no control. "With iin criminal law in reaped of gambling as it is. and properly enforced, on and off ihe race course, il may be possible lor race tracks to be opened, but not if the Maker* of a corporation due licensed c conduct a race meeting, are to be held criminally liable for violations of the gambling law committed by other persons. "Where here is horse racing it is Inevitable that there will be some belting. The mere making of bets and wagers Is not now, and never has been, a crime within the Slate of New Yak. Ii was pointed out by the Chief Judge of the Court of ippeals in if tin cases before that court that •Legislation. however, should be practical, and il is ;1t least doubtful whether a statute making every of aceeptance of a bet or wager a crime coul I. in the present stale of the morality and habits of the rot-i munity. be enforced. Inasmuch as betting and wagering is not criminal, why. as a matter of common fairness, should officials of a race course :..■ held responsible tor ihe secret recording of a bet! That matter is one liey I their control. Tu v neither permit it. nor countenance It: they have no interest or concern in ii. but they cannot possibly prevent ii. furthermore, it is a matter of common knowledge that bets and wagers are commonly a. id coniimi v recorded by individuals Hie world over. and it seems remarkable thai Ihe only place When any cognisance is taken of it should be ii|ioii a race • s". and then thai the penalty should be visited upon these who have nothing to do with it. ■in view ..f iiu- above we recommend ihe passage of a statute io ihe effect that where racing is held under ihe license of this commission, and the asso elation complies with tic law. tic directors and officers thereof shall not be personally liable to prose cut Ion for violations of Hie law in respect of record ing bets by third poisons."

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