Program: Office of racing commissioner

Appropriation:

All from Special Revenue Funds:

$3,747,700

 

Total:

$3,747,700[42]

Program Description:

The Office of Racing Commissioner (ORC) regulates and markets Michigan’s horse racing industry.  Its duties include assigning race dates for tracks, hiring stewards and veterinarians, and investigating irregularities in racing.[43]  It also coordinated the annual “Michigan Equestrian Princess Pageant.”  The pageant helped winnow a list of competitors from whom a young woman was chosen as princess.[44]  The 2002 Equestrian Princess is Laura Kendrick of Marysville.  She and other competitors helped with the 2002 annual “Michigan Horse of the Year Ball” at the Kellogg Center in Lansing. The Commission spent about $10,000 from its promotional budget on the latter events.[45]

Recommended Action:

The office could be eliminated and several of its most vital functions transferred to other departments.  Duties to be eliminated include any marketing-related activity, such as involvement with pageants.  The office also issues racing schedules, appoints veterinarians, and grants approval of track officials; these functions also could be handled by the industry.  (Organizing schedules, hiring doctors and trainers, and approving facilities for competition are all matters routinely handled by private sports groups, including the national leagues of hockey, football, basketball and baseball.) 

If the state must be involved in the gaming business, then all other ORC matters, such as occupational licensure, tax and license revenue collection, and all matters involving fraud or any other irregularity, logically could be handled by the already existing Michigan Gaming Commission, not the MDA.  Savings: $3,747,700.