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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Horse racing organizations allege Arizona law governing race simulcasts is unconstitutional

State Court

By Carrie Bradon | Sep 19, 2019


PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) — A company that distributes horse racing content and a company that holds live racing events are challenging a new Arizona law that governs simulcasts of racing events.

Monarch Content Management LLC and Laurel Racing Association Inc., doing business as Laurel Park, filed a complaint on Aug. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona against The Arizona Department of Gaming; Ted Vogt, director, in his official capacity; Rudy Casillas, deputy director and racing division director; Arizona Racing Commission; and others, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

The suit states the Arizona Legislature passed Arizona House Bill 2547 in June, which regulates any “simulcast” of horse racing that originates from a race track outside of the state of Arizona and that states that such interstate simulcasts “must be offered” to every “commercial live-racing permittee” within the state of Arizona and every “additional wagering facility” within the state of Arizona. 

The plaintiffs allege that the enforcement of HB 2547 would violate their constitutional rights as it requires that Monarch and Laurel Park make their products available to individuals and entities not of their choosing and trusts the Racing Commission to determine what offers are reasonable, anti-competitive or deceptive.

 "However, the Arizona Legislature has not defined what constitutes a 'reasonable' agreement, does not provide any guidance on what constitutes a 'reasonable' agreement, and provides virtually no guidance regarding what comprises an 'anti-competitive or deceptive' practice," the suit states. 

"Although both the ambit and enforcement mechanisms of HB 2547 are unclear, Monarch and Laurel Park are subjected to potential criminal felony penalties if they fail to comply with the obligation to enter into those compelled offers and agreements with unknown individuals or parties."

The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that the bill is unconstitutional and just relief. The plaintiffs are represented by Scot L. Claus, Vail C. Cloar and Holly M. Zoe of Dickinson Wright PLLC in Phoenix.

U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona case number 2:19-cv-04928

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