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EAGLE DOWNS RACING ASSOCIATION v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/28/83)

decided: March 28, 1983.

EAGLE DOWNS RACING ASSOCIATION, INC. ET AL., PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE HARNESS RACING COMMISSION ET AL., RESPONDENTS



Original jurisdiction in the case of Eagle Downs Racing Association, Inc.; Mountainview Racing Association, Inc.; Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association and Horsemen's Benevolent And Protective Association v. State Harness Racing Commission; Washington Trotting Association, Inc.; Mountain Laurel Racing, Inc. and Pocono Downs, Inc.

COUNSEL

Samuel E. Dennis, with him Diana S. Hare and Aaron Jay Beyer, Meltzer & Schiffrin, Harry L. Rossi, Liederbach, Rossi, Hahn, Casey & Foy, and Larrick E. Stapleton, for petitioners.

Barbara S. Drake, Deputy General Counsel, with her Richard DiSalle, Rose, Schmidt, Dixon & Hasley, and Francis J. Wormuth, Kennedy, Hodin & Wormuth, for respondents.

Judges Blatt, MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 156]

Before us is the motion for summary judgment*fn1 filed by the petitioners who are thoroughbred horse and race track owners, operators, associations, trainers and breeders. The petitioners ask us: 1) to enjoin the respondent State Harness Racing Commission (Harness Commission) from granting its fellow respondents,*fn2 who are harness racing associations or operators, permission to operate and accept wagering

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 157]

    on televised simulcasts of out-of-state thoroughbred horse races; 2) to issue an order directly enjoining the aforementioned harness racing associations or operators from operating and accepting wagers on such thoroughbred simulcasts; 3) to issue a declaratory judgment that the Harness Commission has no power, authority or jurisdiction to grant permission for the simulcast of any thoroughbred race and that all harness tracks are precluded from conducting any thoroughbred racing activities including such thoroughbred simulcasts. Also before us is the respondents' motion for judgment on the pleadings.*fn3

Both parties agree that the central issue in this dispute is purely one of law; namely, whether or not a harness racing licensee may accept wagering on simulcasts of out-of-state thoroughbred horse races.

The resolution of this issue, of course, depends upon the statutory construction*fn4 of Section 216 of the Race Horse Industry Reform Act (Act), Act of December 17, 1981, P.L. 435, 4 P.S. ยง 325.216, which provides as follows:

Interstate simulcastings of horse races

Each commission may, upon request by any licensed corporation, grant permission for electronically televised simulcasts of horse races to be operated by the licensed corporation at the race track enclosure where a horse ...


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