Horse Racing During Lockdown Marred by Remington Betting Controversy

When most states ordered nonessential businesses to shut down In March 2020, Oklahoma was one of few states the allowed horse races to continue.but without spectators due to the lockdown mandate . Although the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission (OHRC) gave Remington Park administrators further instructions to shut down the casino and the on-track betting area. Horse racing wagers can only be done online.

Betting Controversy Hits Remington Park During Lockdown Operations

In April, 2020, BloodHorse, a leading digital magazine reported a piece of news sourced from the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation (TIF). The latter is a non-profit organization aimed at providing assistance to horse owners and horse race bettors as well. Reporting the news brings to light certain concerns about the mechanics of Remington Park’s “Sooner Six” betting scheme.

According to BloodHorse, a “Sooner Six” bettor sought the help of TIF when Remington race administrators deprived him of entitlement to the jackpot prize, The bettor said that he had two horses emerging as dead heat winners, but the track administration argued that in having two winners in a single ticket, the effect is the same as having two tickets at the same time. According to the race track officials, the jackpot prize is awarded, only if there is a single winner.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association gave its opinion over the matter, saying that Remington Park’s argument and refusal contradicts the established definition about multiple wagers. When placed in a single pool, multiple winners still represents a single wager.

Although the matter is still under review and investigation by the OHRC, the commission deemed it necessary to suspend Remington’s offer of “Sooner Six” wagers, until such time that a decision has been reached.

A Brief Backgrounder of OK’s Horse Racing Industry

Horse race competitions in Oklahoma has always been a significant economic source for the state, dating as far back as two centuries earlier. Although the horse racing industry experienced a decline when progressive OK lawmakers between 1890 and 1910, when state lawmakers passed laws that outlawed betting pools and bookmakers.

As a result, horse racing also saw a decline in patronage, which prompted local community leaders to inform Oklahomans that state laws prohibit only gambling activities. However, the horse racing sport was able to recover when newspaper campaigns emphasized the importance of the thoroughbred racing industry, being an important source of income for the state.

In 1982, the Oklahoma Horse Racing Act was passed and became effective in 1983. It was only then that Oklahomans were given permission to place pari-mutuel wagers at race tracks duly recognized and licensed by the OHRC.

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