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Ohio State Racing Commission – Licensing & Hearings


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Professionals in the pari-mutuel racing industry may benefit from the assistance of an Ohio administrative agency law attorney when facing disciplinary matters before the Ohio Racing Commission. An attorney may offer guidance with regard to the Commission’s specific rules and procedures and make arguments on a licensee’s behalf.

Contact the attorneys at Graff & McGovern at 614-228-5800, or use our online contact form, to discuss legal matters involving the Ohio Racing Commission.

About the Ohio State Racing Commission

The Ohio State Racing Commission regulates pari-mutuel racing in Ohio, at the seven commercial racetracks and about 60 county fairs. All participants in horse racing must be licensed, whether they are trainers, grooms, jockeys, or part of food services at the track’s restaurant.

The Racing Commission also contracts with the official testing laboratory at the Ohio Department of Agriculture. At least one horse from the races have blood and urine samples collected so tests can be run. In addition, the Commission can have its licensees drug tested.

Many actions against licensees arise from the conduct of a driver or a jockey during the race. Trainers are disciplined if their horse is found to have a foreign or prohibited substance. Applicants can be denied a license based upon prior bad acts in other states, or due to a felony conviction in the past 10 years.

The Commission investigates very few cases before initiating disciplinary actions. In most cases, the Presiding Official (judges at harness tracks and stewards at thoroughbred tracks) will hold an informal hearing, and the three judges or stewards will make a decision and issue a penalty. Horsemen who disagree with either the decision or the penalty may appeal the matter to the Commission for a new, or de novo, hearing.

How an Ohio Administrative Law Attorney Can Help

An attorney can assist an applicant or a licensee in several ways. An attorney may offer early assistance and communication with the Commission to prevent misunderstandings. Additionally, an attorney may assist the Commission to determine disciplinary action need not be initiated.

If disciplinary action is initiated, an attorney can assist the applicant or licensee through the hearing process. In addition, an attorney may be able to secure a settlement agreement to avoid the hearing process.

The Commission has several thousand licensees. Only 20 or so cases have been appealed to the Commission on an annual basis for the past several years. Hearing examiners are hired to hear appeals. The hearing examiner’s Report and Recommendation then goes before the Commission at one of their monthly meetings for a final decision.

Contact Graff & McGovern Today

The attorneys at Graff & McGovern offer experienced representation in administrative agency law, including experience practicing before the Ohio Racing Commission. We can represent racing professionals in matters before this commission. Three of our attorneys are certified as Administrative Agency Law Specialists by the Ohio State Bar Association. Only eight attorneys in the state currently hold this certification.

We are located in Columbus, the state’s capital, and can assist with needed access to state government agencies. Call Graff & McGovern at 614-228-5800, or use our online form, to schedule an appointment with an attorney today.