CHAPTER 303 - DELAWARE HARNESS RACING COMMISSION

AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE REGULATION, CONTROL AND LICENSING OF HARNESS RACING IN THE STATE OF DELAWARE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:

Section 1. There shall be a Delaware Harness Racing Commission and the same is hereby created and established, which said Delaware Harness Racing Commission shall be vested with and possessed of the powers and duties in this Act specified and also the powers necessary or proper to enable it to carry out fully and effectually all the purposes of this Act. The jurisdiction, supervision, powers and duties of the Commission herein created and established shall extend under this Act to any and all person or persons, associations or corporations who or which shall hereafter hold or conduct any meeting within the State of Delaware whereat harness horse racing shall be permitted for any stake, purse or reward, and upon which wagering or betting is conducted as herein provided.

Section 2. The said Commission shall consist of only one (1) member who shall be appointed by the Governor of the State of Delaware. Said member at the time of his appointment and qualification shall be a resident of the State of Delaware and shall have resided in said State for a period of at least two (2) years next preceding his appointment and qualification and he shall also be a qualified voter therein and not less than thirty (30) years of age. The term of the Commission shall be six years. The first member shall be appointed by the Governor on or before the Fifteenth day of May, 1945, to serve for the period of six years from the time of his appointment and qualification and until his successor shall qualify. In case any Commissioner shall be allowed to hold over after the expiration of his term, his successor shall be appointed for the balance of the unexpired term. Vacancies in said Commission shall be filled by the Governor for the unexpired term. A commissioner shall be eligible for reappointment in the discretion of the Governor.

The Governor may remove the Commissioner for inefficiency, neglect of duty or misconduct in office, giving to him a copy of the charges against him and an opportunity of being publicly heard in person or by counsel in his own defense upon not less than ten (10) days' notice. If such Commissioner shall be removed, the Governor shall file in the office of the Secretary of State a complete statement of all charges made against such Commissioner and his findings thereof, together with a complete record of the proceedings. No person shall be eligible for appointment or shall hold the office of Commissioner or be appointed by the Commission or hold any office or position under the Commission, who at the time of his assumption of office shall hold any official relation to any association or corporation engaged in or conducting harness horse racing within the State of Delaware.

Section 3. Before entering upon the discharge of the duties of his office the member of the Commission shall take oath that he will well and faithfully execute all and singular the duties appertaining to his office according to the laws of the State and the rules and regulations adopted in accordance therewith, and until wagering or betting on harness horse races shall be licensed under this Act by the Commission, shall give bond to the State of Delaware with personal or corporate surety or sureties approved by the Governor in the penalty of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), and upon the licensing of wagering or betting on harness horse races at any track, shall give bond to the State of Delaware with personal or corporate surety or sureties approved by the Governor in the penalty of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) with the condition that he will well and faithfully execute and perform all and singular the duties appertaining to his office according to the laws of this State and the rules and regulations adopted in accordance therewith. Every such bond, when duly executed and approved, shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of Delaware, and certified copies under the seal of the said Secretary of State may be used as evidence in any Court of this state. It shall be the duty of the Governor at all times when, in his opinion, the surety or sureties of any member of said Commission shall become or are likely to become invalid or insufficient, to demand and require such member of said Commission forthwith to renew his bond to the State of Delaware with surety or sureties to be approved by the Governor, in the penalty and according to the form prescribed in this section. Any member of said Commission who shall fail to take oath and give bond with surety or sureties as aforesaid, within thirty days of the date of his appointment, or who shall fail to renew his bond with surety or sureties as aforesaid, within thirty days after the same shall have been demanded and required by the Governor, shall be deemed to be guilty of neglect of duty and shall be removable as hereinbefore provided.

Section 4. Said Commission shall establish and maintain an office or offices at such times and places within the State of Delaware as the Commission shall determine. The member thereof shall be entitled to his reasonable expenses for traveling to and from such office on official business. The Commission may appoint such officers, clerks, stenographers, inspectors, and employees as may be necessary, all of whom shall serve during the pleasure of said Commission. The Secretary of said Commission shall keep a record of all proceedings of the Commission, and shall preserve all books, maps, documents and papers belonging to the Commission or entrusted to its care and perform such other duties as the Commission may prescribe. The Commission shall make an annual report to the Governor on or before the first day of January which report shall include a statement of receipts and disbursements by the Commission, and any additional information and recommendations which the Commission may deem of value.

Section 5. The salary of the member of the Commission shall be One Dollar ($1.00) per annum. The salaries of clerks and other employees and the rental of offices and other expenses of the Commission, which expenses shall be deemed to include Premiums on surety bonds of the member of the Commission required in Section 3 hereof, shall not exceed the sum of Twenty-five Hundred Dollars ($2500.00) per annum.

Any person or persons, associations or corporations, upon applying to the Commission for a license to conduct a harness race meeting within the State of Delaware during any calendar year, shall, at the time of such application, pay to the said Commission a fee of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).

Any person or persons, associations or corporations who shall be granted a license by the Commission to conduct a harness race meeting within the State of Delaware, within any calendar year, shall, at the time such license is granted, pay to the said Commission a fee of Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars ($250.00).

Section 6. This Act shall apply only to harness horse races upon which wagering or betting is conducted as herein provided.

Section 7. Any person or persons, association or corporation desiring to conduct a harness horse race meeting within the State of Delaware during any calendar year, shall apply to the Commission for a license so to do. Such application shall be filed with the Commission on or before a day to be fixed by the Commission. Such application shall specify the days on which such harness horse racing is desired to be conducted or held, and such application shall be in such form and supply such data and information, including a blue print of track and specifications of surface of same and blue print and specifications of buildings and grandstand of the applicant as the Commission may prescribe, which said blue Prints and specifications shall be subject to the approval of the Commission, which, at the expense of the applicant, may order such engineering examination thereof as to the Commission may seem necessary. The erection and construction of the track, grandstand and buildings of any applicant for a license to conduct harness horse racing under this Act, shall be subject to the inspection of the Commission, which, at the expense of the applicant, may employ such inspectors as it may consider necessary for the said purpose. Said Commission shall, on or before the Fifteenth day of January of each year, award all dates for harness horse racing in the State of Delaware within the current year, but the said dates so awarded shall not exceed twenty (20) days in the aggregate, and the decision of the Commission on the award of all such dates shall be final. The Commission shall have power to reject any application for a license for any cause which it may deem sufficient and the action of the Commission shall be final. No one person, corporation or association shall be given a license to conduct harness horse racing for more than fifteen (15) days in one year, and no person, corporation or association shall be given a license to hold more than two (2) meetings in any one year, nor shall more than two meetings for harness horse racing, with an aggregate of twenty days, be held in any one year on any one track within the State of Delaware; provided, however, in the event that in any year only one application to the Delaware Harness Racing Commission for a license to conduct harness racing within the State of Delaware shall qualify for a license on or before the fifteenth day of January in said year, the Commission may authorize said sole licensee to hold one or more meetings for said year for an aggregate of twenty (20) days.

Ten (10) days before any harness horse racing meeting may be held under this Act, the person or persons, association or corporation licensed to conduct the meet shall deposit with the Commission insurance against personal injury liability which may be sustained at such meet, said insurance to be in amount approved by the Commission with premium or premiums prepaid.

Not less than five (5) days prior to the opening of any meet authorized by the Delaware Harness Racing Commission, the Commission, at the expense of the licensee, shall cause to be made an inspection of the track, grandstand and buildings where said meet is to be held, and unless said track, grandstand and buildings are found to be safe for animals and persons, or are rendered safe prior to the opening of the meet, the license for said meet shall be withdrawn.

Section 8. Said Commission may in its discretion meet subsequently to the Fifteenth day of January of each year and award dates for harness horse racing within the limits herein-before provided on application submitted to it, provided that the days so awarded in no way conflict with the further provisions of this Act.

Section 9. Upon the award of days to any applicant the Commission shall issue a license for the holding of the meet or meets during the days awarded to such applicant, and said license shall be subject to all rights, regulations and conditions from time to time prescribed by the Commission; and said license shall be subject to suspension or revocation by the Commission for any cause whatsoever which the Commission may, in its discretion deem sufficient. If any license is suspended or revoked, said Commission shall state publicly its reasons for so doing and cause an entry of such reasons to be made on the minute book of the Commission, and its action shall be final, provided, however, the propriety of such action shall be subject to review, upon questions of law only, by the Superior Court of the County within which such license was granted, the action of the Commission to stand unless and until reversed by the Court.

Section 10. Racing under this act shall be limited to harness horse racing or harness horse races. Harness racing, harness races, harness horse racing, or harness horse races shall be construed to mean and include only any racing of horses in which the horses competing or participating are harnessed to a sulky, carriage or similar vehicle and are not mounted by a jockey.

Every license issued under this Act shall contain a condition that all harness races or race meetings conducted thereunder shall be subject to the reasonable rules and regulations from time to time prescribed by the United States Trotting Association. Any rule or regulation of the United States Trotting Association may be modified or abrogated by the said Delaware Harness Racing Commission upon giving such United States Trotting Association an opportunity to be heard.

Said Commission may make rules governing, restricting or regulating the rate or charge by a licensee for admission, or for the performance of any service, or the sale of any article on the premises of such licensee.

No salary, fee or compensation exceeding the sum of Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) shall be paid in any calendar year by any person or persons, association or corporation licensed as hereinbefore provided, except to officials or employees actively engaged in the operations incident to the holding of the harness race meeting or in the maintenance of the racing plant.

All proposed extensions, additions or improvements to the buildings, stables, improvements on tracks or property, owned or leased by the licensee under this Act, shall be subject to the approval of the Commission. Said Commission shall have power to compel the production of any and all books, memoranda, or documents showing the receipts and disbursements of any corporation, person or persons, or association licensed under the provisions of this Act to conduct racing meets. The Commission may at any time require the removal of any employee or official employed by any licensee hereunder. The Commission shall also have the power to require that the books and financial or other statements of any person, corporation or association, licensed under the provisions of this Act, shall be kept in any manner which to the Commission may seem best, and the Commission shall also be authorized to visit, to investigate, and to place expert accountants and such other persons as it may deem necessary, in the offices, tracks, or places of business of any such person, corporation or association, for the purpose of satisfying itself that the Commission's rules and regulations are strictly complied with, and the salaries and expenses of such expert accountants or other persons shall be paid by the person, corporation, or association to whom they are assigned. The said Commission shall have the authority to issue, under the hand of its member and the seal of the Commission, subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers and documents, before the Commission, and to administer oath or affirmation to such witnesses whenever in the judgment of the said Commission it may be necessary for the effectual discharge of their duties. If any person shall refuse to obey any such subpoena, or to testify, or to produce any books, papers and documents, then the Commission may apply to the Superior Court of the County in which the Commission may be sitting, and, thereupon, the said Court shall issue its subpoena requiring such person to appear and to testify, or to produce such books, papers and documents. Any person failing to obey or refusing to obey a subpoena of the said Court shall be deemed guilty of contempt of court, and shall be punished accordingly. False swearing on the part of any witness shall be deemed perjury and shall be punished as such.

Section 11. Every person or persons, association or corporation licensed to hold harness race meetings within the State of Delaware as hereinabove provided shall pay to the Commission a tax of ten cents ($.10) on each admission on each day of any such meet, excepting admissions of persons performing any duty or work in connection with the holding of the meet. The licensee may if it desires collect such amount from each ticket holder in addition to the amount or amounts charged for such ticket of admission. Accurate records and books shall at all times be kept and maintained by the licensee showing the number of admissions, employees of the licensee excepted, on each racing day of each horse racing meet. The Commission, or its duly authorized representative or representatives, shall at all reasonable times have access to the admission records of any licensee for the purpose of examining and checking the same, and ascertaining whether or not the proper amount has been, or is being, paid the State of Delaware as herein provided. The Commission may also, from time to time, require sworn statements of the number or numbers of such paid admissions and prescribe blanks upon which such reports shall be made.

Every person or persons, association or corporation, licensed to hold harness horse racing meets within the State of Delaware, as hereinbefore provided, shall on or before the first day of December of each year return to the Commission a full statement, under oath, of their receipts from all sources whatsoever during the calendar year, and of all expenses and disbursements, all itemized in the manner and form as shall be directed by the Commission, and with such allowances as may be approved by the Commission showing the net revenue from all sources derived by such person or persons, association or corporation, engaged in or conducting harness horse racing. The cost of any alterations, additions, changes or improvements made or proposed upon the property owned or leased by any such person and used by it for the convenience and comfort of the public and of the horse owners with the approval of the Commission shall be deducted as running expenses in such statements.

The Commission shall allow a licensee to reserve from its earnings after provision for the taxes and charges provided by the statutes of the State of Delaware for the use of the State, a reasonable annual depreciation on the buildings and equipment used in the holding of racing meets within the State of Delaware which sum so allowed as depreciation may be used by the licensee in the retirement of his or its funded debt and/or preference stock. From any net revenue resulting after the payment of the taxes and charges provided by the statutes of the State of Delaware for the use of the State, and after the deductions for operating expenses and depreciation charges and the payment of Federal taxes, if any, the Commission shall allow a licensee a sum not to exceed 4% of the capital investment of the licensee in his or its track, grandstand and equipment employed in holding harness races as return on said investment. All net revenue of the licensee remaining shall be set aside and employed by the licensee for working capital, for the retirement of outstanding debt and/or preference stock, for the maintenance and development of purses, stakes and rewards, and for the maintenance and improvement of the tracks and buildings of the licensee.

Any licensee failing or refusing to pay the amount found to be due by the Commission as the tax on admissions shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be liable to a fine of not more than Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) in addition to the amount due the Commission. All fines up to the amount found to be due the Commission and paid into Court by a licensee found guilty of violating this Section, shall be transmitted and paid over by the Clerk of the Court to the Commission.

Section 12. Before the thirtieth days of June and December in each year, the Commission shall prepare and file with the State Treasurer a full and complete statement of its receipts and disbursements from all sources and shall pay over to the Treasurer of the State all monies in their hands, less the salaries and expenses of the Commission, less any other remittances herein provided; provided that the Commission may reserve and use any amount paid to it under the provisions of Section 5 of this Act for defraying the expenses of the Commission as defined in said Section until there shall have been paid to the Commission a further fee or fees under said Section 5, at which time the Commission shall pay over to the Treasurer of the State of Delaware any balance remaining in its hands from a fee or fees theretofore paid to it under said Section.

Section 13. Any person aiding or abetting in the conduct of any meet within the State of Delaware at which harness horse racing or harness races shall be permitted for any stake, purse or reward, and upon which wagering or betting is conducted as herein provided, except in accordance with a license duly issued and unsuspended or unrevoked by the Delaware Harness Racing Commission shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) and not more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000) for each day of such unauthorized meeting or by imprisonment in the discretion of the Court. It shall be the duty of all officers of the law to cooperate with the Commission for the proper enforcement of this Act.

Section 14. No part of this Act shall be construed to apply to the racing of horses on the flat or running races.

Section 15. Within the enclosure of any harness horse race meeting licensed and conducted under this Act, but not elsewhere, the wagering or betting on harness horse races by the use of pari mutuel machines or totalizators is hereby authorized and permitted.

The Delaware Harness Racing Commission shall have power in its discretion, to grant a license or licenses to any person, association or corporation, to make, conduct and sell pools by the use of pari mutuel machines or totalizators, for the purpose of receiving wagers or bets on harness horse races within the enclosure of any harness horse race meeting licensed and conducted under this Act, but not otherwise, under such regulations as the Commission shall prescribe.

The Commission shall have power to prescribe regulations governing the granting of applications for licenses, the granting of licenses, and the conditions under which any licensee may conduct, sell or make any such pool.

The qualifications of any licensee shall be such as to afford a reasonable belief that the licensee will be financially responsible and will conduct the business of operating said pools in a proper and orderly manner. A licensee to make, conduct and sell pools by the use of pari mutuel machines or totalizators, must be a person, association or corporation licensed to conduct a harness horse race meeting under this Act.

The Delaware Harness Racing Commission shall have power to require the keeping of books and records by a licensee of a pari mutuel or totalizator pool in such forms, or in such manner, as the Commission shall prescribe. The Commission shall also have the power to regulate the duties of any employee of any such licensee, and to visit, investigate, and to place expert accountants and such other persons at it may deem necessary in the office or place of business of any person, association or corporation licensed to operate a pari mutuel or totalizator pool for the purpose of satisfying itself that the Commission's rules and regulations are strictly complied with. The Commission shall also have power to issue, under its hand and seal, subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers and documents of the licensee, before the Commission, and to administer oath or affirmation to such witnesses whenever in the judgment of the said Commission it may be necessary for the effectual discharge of its duty. If any person shall refuse to obey any such subpoena or to testify, or to produce any books, papers or documents, then the Commission may apply to the Superior Court of the County in which it may be sitting and thereupon the said Court shall issue its subpoena requiring said person to appear and testify, or to produce such books, papers and documents before the Commission. Any person failing to obey or refusing to obey a subpoena of the said Court shall be deemed guilty of contempt of court and shall be punished accordingly. False swearing on the part of any witness shall be deemed perjury and shall be punished as such.

All licenses for the operation of pari mutuel or totalizator pools shall be revocable at any time, without hearing, in the absolute discretion of the Delaware Harness Racing Commission.

Every person, association or corporation engaged in the business of conducting a harness race meeting under this Act shall pay to the State of Delaware, by certified check to be transmitted to the Delaware Racing Commission, which if found correct by said Commission, shall by said Commission be transmitted to the State Treasurer, a sum equal to three and one-half per cent (31/2%) of the total contributions to all pari mutuel and totalizator pools conducted or made on any and every race track licensed under this Act and on every race at such track.

The Delaware Harness Racing Commission shall authorize commissions on pari mutuel or totalizator pools to the person, association or corporation operating a harness race meeting, which said commissions shall be a sum equal to six and one-half percent (61/2%) of the total contributions to all pari mutuel and totalizator pools conducted or made at said harness race meeting, and every harness race at said meeting, plus the odd cents of all re-distributions to be made on all pari mutuel or totalizator pool contributions exceeding the sum equal to the next lowest multiple of five, such odd cents to be calculated upon the basis of each dollar wagered.

For the purpose of making any of the calculations of amounts payable to the State of Delaware and to the licensee under this section, no federal taxes, if any, shall be deducted from the amount of total contributions before applying the percentages specified in this section.

Section 16. Should any of the sections or parts of sections contained in this Act, be held to be unconstitutional and void by the Supreme Court of this State, it is hereby expressly decreed that the remaining sections or parts of sections of said Act are not to be invalidated thereby, but are to remain in full force and effect as if the sections, or parts of sections held unconstitutional had never been enacted.

Approved May 14, 1945.