The Racing Board was established in 1945 and replaced in 1994. It comprised 11 members appointed by the Minister for Finance in consultation the Minister for Agriculture.
The Irish Horseracing Authority consisted of 15 members, four nominated by the Minister for Agriculture, one of which was Chairman and one was representative of the industry in Northern Ireland. The remaining 12 members were selected by the Minister by a panel of three person submitted by representatives of nine interested groups. The Irish Horseracing Authority was established in 1994 and reconstituted as Horser Racing Ireland in 2001.
The Horse and Greyhound Racing Act 2001 and the Horseracing Ireland Membership Act established Horse Racing Ireland. It replaced the previous Irish Horseracing Authority. The legislation defines the functions of the authority and of the racing regulatory body, the Turf Club/INHSC.
Horse Racing Ireland’s chairman is appointed by the Minister for Agriculture. Five members are nominated by the Turf Club / NHS Committee who are the racing regulatory body. One member is each nominated by the racecourse’s owners, trainers, breeders, authorised bookmakers and persons employed in the industry. One member is representative of industry in Northern Ireland. One person is employed in the industry.
The Horse and Greyhound Racing Act establishes the racegoers consultative forum and the media rights committee. It established the Horse and Greyhound Fund.
The racecourse consultative forum is required under legislation.The Racegoers Consultative Forum is to include representatives of horse racecourse supporters, clubs and other organizations operating in the interests of racegoers and other interest groups affected by decisions of HRI or who use the various facilities provided by it.
Charges & Funding
The Horse and Greyhound Racing (Betting Charges and Levies) Act 1999 sets out provisions in relation to charges on bookmakers and beting which are used in part a fund to the industry. The 1999 Act provided for turnover charges on bookmakers on course bets.
This is payable to Horse Racing Ireland. It provides for a levy by Horseracing Ireland by way of charge on authorized bookmakers. It provides for annual charges on registered premises. The Act provides for a zero rate of duty on bookmakers for on course bets. It provides for the thoroughbred foal levy.
Subsidiaries of HRI operate the totaliser under Totaliser Act 1929. A licensed bookmaker may accept totalizer bets on behalf of HRI or Bord na gCon at a licensed premises.
Tote Ireland and ITM are wholly-owned subsidiaries of HRI. The directors are the chairman, chief executive and secretary of HRI. The foal levy committee is an advisory committee and has non-HRI board members. It has a significant role in allocating funding.
Housing Racing Ireland
Horse Racing Ireland
- operates registers of horse naming, horseracing passports and ID .
- publishes a racing calendar.
- deals with horse race entries and declarations.
- registers horse race owners in accordance with rules of racing.
HRI provides and maintains track equipment as agreed from time to time between the Horse Racing Ireland and the racing regulatory body, the Turf Club. It provides the racing regulatory body with recordings sound, film, generated by its data which is required for enforcement of the rules of racing.
- HRI provides for the development and promotion of the Irish race horse industry, including the
- development of authorized racecourses
- guaranteeing prize money at race fixtures and
- providing certain services.
HRI controls and authorizes the operations of bookmakers.
- It allocates race fixtures and sets race programs.
- It operates racecourses on a ownership or leased basis.
- It promotes the Irish thoroughbred horses.
- It makes grants, loans and disbursements to authorised racecourses.
- It represents Irish horseracing internationally in relation to functions.
- It negotiates income from media rights.
- It maintains and approves health and welfare status of the thoroughbred horse
- It assists educational and other institutions and organizations in providing training and education facilities and courses for the thoroughbred horseracing industry.
Leopardstown, Fairyhouse, Navan and Tipperary racecourses are subsidiaries of HRI. Their directors are the chairman, chief executive and secretary of HRI. Each course has an advisory committee with board members of HRI. and other members with relevant expertise.
Horse Racing Ireland is responsible for the overall administration of Irish Horseracing other than services provided by the racing regulatory body. The racing regulatory body which is the turf club or INHS is responsible for the making and enforcing of the rules of racing.
It is obliged to provide on-course integrity services for horseracing by employing, licensing, monitoring and controlling the activities of horseracing officials, including clerk of courses, clerk of scales, handicappers, inspector of courses, judge, veterinary officers, assistants, medical officers, stewards and security officers.
It licenses racecourses under the rules of race coursing and all participants of racing including trainers, jockeys, jockey’s agents and stable staff. It makes decisions relating to doping, control of forensics and handicapping. It is responsible for the representation of Irish Horseracing internationally in certain respects.
Horse Racing Ireland undertakes the above registry functions in accordance with the rules of racing.
Authorisation of Bookmakers
Horse Racing Ireland may grant licenses to bookmakers as a permit authorizing him to carry on business at an authorized racecourse. The bookmakers committee is involved in licensing and authorization of bookmakers. The bookmakers appeal committee is established under the Horseracing Ireland Act, 1994.
A course betting representative permit allows the person to carry on the business through a representative employee or agent. A permit may be granted subject to conditions.
A permit may be suspended or revoked. This includes for reasons of failure or neglect to pay amounts due on foot of a bet. Where there is a refusal or suspension of a permit, the bookmaker is to be given the chance to make representations. Notice of refusal, suspension or revocation is to be given.
There is provision for an appeal procedure to the Bookmakers Appeals Committee. The Committee after conducting a hearing may permit or refuse the appeal. Horse Racing Ireland is obliged to comply with its directions.
A person may appear in person or by counsel, solicitor or agent. Witnesses may be summoned. Witnesses may be required to produce records. The committee has the same powers and immunities as the High Court.
Horse Racing Ireland may appoint authorised officers who have power to enforce legislation. Authorized officers have powers to enter premises where bookmaking is carried on to examine accounts, records and documents etc.
Officers of customs and excise may enter any authorized racecourse or betting office in connection with enforcement of the excise payments, duties and betting tax. It is an offence to obstruct or resist an authorized officer.
Authorized officers or persons acting under the direction of an executive of an authorized racecourse, who has reasonable authority to believe a person is not an authorized racecourse bookmaker or holding a permit, may require him to leave. On failure to comply with a requirement, the person may be required to leave with the assistance of a member of An Garda Siochana using reasonable force if necessary.
Regulations of Bookmakers
Regulations may be made governing the activities of authorized bookmakers at authorized racecourses. Regulations may govern the opening hours of betting shops.
A person may not carry on business of a bookmaker at an authorized racecourse unless he is an authorized bookmaker or person specified in a course betting representive permit.
Horse Racing Ireland may make regulations in relation to authorized bookmakers. They may include
- charges applicable to the bookmaker for entering the racecourse or different parts of it.
- governing its activities including betting services,
- providing facilities for authorized bookmakers at racecourses
- permitting them to operate from betting offices,
- regulation of structure and location of betting offices,
- hours of opening,
- persons who may be admitted,
- good order and conduct,
- range of betting services.
Regulation of Racecourses
HRI-authorized racecourses. They must be satisfied that there are appropriate facilities and services available for carrying out race meetings and accommodating persons associated with horseracing and members of the public.
The authorization endures for five years. An authorization may be revoked or suspended where there are reasons for believing the conditions applicable are not being complied with.
Horse Racing Ireland or the racing regulatory body may exclude a person from a racecourse or any authorized racecourses as it may provide an exclusion notice. An exclusion notice may be varied. It must be delivered personally. A person against whom it is served may be removed from a race course by a member of An Garda Siochana if he is on a racecourse in breach of the exclusion order.
Building on the Indecon Report into certain aspects of the horseracing industry, the purpose of this Act is to strengthen governance and transparency within the administration of horseracing, improve accountability and control over State funding in the sector, clarify the respective functions of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) and the Racing Regulatory Body (RRB), and provide for streamlining of certain administrative functions.
The opportunity was also taken to introduce a minor amendment to the Forestry Act 2014, to simplify the process for approval of the construction of forest roads, through the introduction of a single development consent system to be operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The 2016 Act extends the definition of –
- “integrity services” to allow the RRB ensure that horses are run fairly and properly without being limited to on course activities,
- “Racing Regulatory Body” to include limited companies established by that body, and
- explicitly providing that “Rules of Racing” apply to Point to Point racing.
Increase of summary fine – Act of 1994
The 2016 Act provides for updating fines under the 1994 Act and the
deletion of continuous offences in line with modern legislative practices.
Membership of HRI
The 2016 Act increases Ministerial representation on the board from one to three, in accordance with the recommendations of Indecon, including a representative of the Northern Ireland industry. There will be thirteen ordinary members in all – in addition to the three nominated by the Minister,
- three shall be nominated by the Racing Regulatory Body (a reduction of two from the five members at present);
- one shall be nominated by representatives of the authorised racecourses, racehorse breeders, racehorse owners, racehorse trainers respectively;
- two from the industry service committee (one being the chairman of that committee and one being a representative of the stable staff (inserted following receipt of the Pre-Legislative Scrutiny Report of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine)) and
- one from the betting committee being the chair of that committee.
It explicitly requires HRI to have regard to Government policies and guidelines in determining the remuneration or allowances paid to its chairman and to comply with any directions given by the Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, in this regard.
Furthermore, the Chairmen of the new statutory committees established shall be members of the Board of HRI. This is intended to provide greater transparency, better communication and continuity between the statutory committees and the Board.
Updated General functions of HRI
The 2016 Act consolidates and clarifies the general functions of HRI by providing that HRI is responsible for the overall administration, governance, development and promotion of the Irish horseracing industry (other than the functions assigned to the Racing Regulatory Body) and to provide a single structure for the administration and financial management of Irish horseracing.
- process all charges in horseracing other than the acceptance of horse racing entries and declarations for point-to-point steeplechases and the charges in respect of issuing hunter certificates, (which will be collected by the organising hunt clubs)
- process payments to participants in the horse-racing industry,
- provide registry office services,
- manage the development and promotion of the Irish horseracing industry,
- promote the Irish thoroughbred horse and represent Irish horseracing internationally,
- provide financial and other support for the health and welfare of the thoroughbred horse and to assist educations and other institutions and organisations in providing training and education to the industry,
- provide financial support for Point to Point racing,
- provide grants, loans or other disbursements to authorised racecourses,
- the allocation of race fixtures and the setting of race programmes (other than Point to Point steeplechases),
- negotiate, in consultation with the authorised racecourse, income from media rights,
- provide and maintain mobile track equipment and other such equipment that may be agreed with the Racing Regulatory Body,
- provide powers to HRI to issue directives to achieve its obligations following consultation with the Racing Regulatory Body.
Committees of HRI
The 2016 Act provides for statutory committees and standardising the structure of the statutory committee.
In relation to the Race Fixtures Committee
- the Chair of the Race Fixtures Committee is appointed by HRI,
- the number of ordinary members is reduced from 6 to 5,
- the membership of the committee is confined to members of
The 2016 Act provides for the establishment of an industry services committee to focus on the requirements of those employed in the horseracing industry. It provides that the members shall elect the chair of the committee who will be a member of HRI. It also provides for a betting committee to focus on the requirements of the betting sector on the same basis as the industry services committee.
The 2016 Act increases the membership of the media rights committee to 5 and permits non members of the Board to be members of the committee. This is to allow the committee have media rights experts as members. Representatives of racecourses will continue to have the chair of this committee and the Act does not provide for any changes in the current arrangements for the negotiation of media rights.
This provision brings the number of members on the statutory committees of HRI to 5 members (where legislation sets out the number of members).
The 2016 Act clarifies that HRI may make deductions from monetary prizes in accordance with HRI directives as is the current practice. Such directives provide for payments to various associations, jockeys’ and trainers’ pension trusts and other welfare funds.
The provision affords protection to existing charitable funds by providing that HRI cannot make changes in the directives governing deductions for charitable funds administered by the Racing Regulatory Body without the prior agreement of the Racing Regulatory Body.
Compliance by HRI with State Bodies Code of Practice etc.
The chief executive of HRI is accountable to committees of Dáil Éireann in respect of accounts economy and inefficiencies. He is responsible to the PAC and certain other committees.
In addition to its annual report to the Minister, HRI will have to provide information to the Minister on request particularly on its compliance with the Code of Practice for Governance of State Bodies issued by Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
In the event that the Minister is not satisfied with HRI’s compliance (irrespective of the Minister’s ability to withhold funding) the Minister may direct compliance.
The Minister may require HRI and the Racing Regulatory Body to draw up an agreement to account for funding and compliance with Government policies, etc.
Liability for foal levy
The 2016 Act provides that the owner or keeper of a thoroughbred foal must pay the thoroughbred foal levy in advance of registering the foal in the stud-book and allows that the registering authority may refuse to register a foal if the levy hasn’t been paid.
Companies of HRI
The 2016 Act permits HRI to establish companies to carry out any of its functions and substitutes “Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform” for references to the Minister for Finance in the Act.
Animal Remedies Act 1993 – authorised officers
The 2016 Act amends the provisions for authorised officers in the Animal Remedies Act 1993 to allow the appointment by persons other than officers of the Minister and to permit the Minister to set conditions within which authorised officers may utilise the functions set out in the Act.
This amendment is intended to permit the Minister to appoint authorised officers from the Racing Regulatory Body to deal with any potential misuse of animal remedies under that Act that may affect horseracing.
Forestry Act 2014
The 2016 Act amends the definition of “forest road works” in the Forestry Act 2014 to eliminate the restriction in relation to access to the public road.
This change allows that only one consent is required for forest road works where previously if the forest road accessed the public road, consents were required from both the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the relevant planning authorities.