Arizona bill makes illegal horse racing a Class 6 felony

Above: Photoby Margaret Naczek, Cronkite News Business News | 16 Nov, 2021 |

The Arizona Legislature passed a new bill that will classify unauthorized horse race meetings or illegal horse racing as an act of racketeering.

The bill, HB2012, went into effect Sept. 29, also making unauthorized horse race meetings a class 6 felony.

According to Shous Arizona Law Group, a class 6 felony could lead to a jail sentence between four months and two years.


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The addition of a racketeering charge would appear when gambling is present at the unauthorized meeting.

Jackson White Attorneys at Law estimates that first time racketeering offenders could receive a jail sentence between one and 8.75 years. A person with two prior convictions could face up to 25 years in prison.

The Arizona Department of Gaming governs horse racing in the state by issuing permits and regulating wagering.

The ADG also oversees the operations of race facilities and all participants.

“Department staff are always on-site during permitted racing to help ensure the integrity of racing, any associated pari-mutuel wagering, and the health and safety of both the human and equine athletes participating at these events,” said ADG Public Information Officer Max Hartgraves.

The only facilities that currently hold approved horse racing are, Phoenix’s Turf Paradise, Arizona Downs in Prescott Valley and Rillito Race Track in Tucson. The ADG also approves permits for the state and county fairs.

Horse racing at any other facility is illegal and the ADG welcomes tips from the public. A submission can be completed online on the ADG page.

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