Arizona Racing Commission (1949 – present)
See Department of Gaming
The Arizona Racing Commission was established in 1949 (Laws 1949, Chapter 61). In 1982, the Legislature established The Arizona Department of Racing (Laws 1982, Chapter 310). The 1982 law was designed “to regulate the racing industry in Arizona for the protection of the public peace, safety and welfare through the strengthening of the Arizona Racing Commission and creation of an Arizona Department of Racing administered by a director with significant business and administrative experience.” Responsibilities for racing, pari-mutuel wagering, boxing and mixed martial arts were transferred to the Arizona Department of Gaming in 2015. Statutory authority for racing and pari-mutuel wagering is found in A.R.S. §§5-101 et seq. and authority for boxing is found in A.R.S. §§5-221 et seq.
According to the Arizona Department of Racing website, the department’s mission was “To regulate and supervise pari-mutuel racing and wagering conducted in Arizona in order to protect racing participants and the wagering public.” In 1992, the agency’s responsibilities were expanded to include the regulation and supervision of boxing and mixed martial arts events conducted in Arizona to protect all participants in those events.
According to the State Auditor General’s office, “The Arizona Department of Racing and the Arizona Racing Commission together regulate pari-mutuel horse and dog racing and wagering in Arizona, although the Department provides direct day-to-day oversight of racing activities.”
In 1949, the Legislature created the Arizona Racing Commission and legalized pari-mutuel waging. The Legislature created the Arizona Department of Racing in 1982 to regulate and supervise pari-mutuel racing and wagering conducted in Arizona in order to protect racing participants and the wagering public. Until 2015, the Department was responsible for regulating all commercial and county fair horse racing meetings, Greyhound racing meetings, and pari-mutuel wagering. Additionally, the Department was responsible for collecting pari-mutuel taxes and other fees for distribution to the State General Fund and eight statutorily established funds. Before the Department was created, the Arizona Racing Commission performed those regulatory activities.
In 1992, Department responsibilities were expanded to include boxing and mixed martial arts. The Boxing Commission was formed to provide physical and financial protection to participants and those interested in the sport. The Boxing Commission retained jurisdiction over boxing contests and licensing, while the Department assumed responsibility for financial and accounting functions. The measure authorized the Department and the Boxing Commission to enter into an intergovernmental agreement to provide office space, communications services and administrative support. See Laws 1992, Chapter 337.
In 2015, the Legislature transferred the responsibilities of the Arizona Department of Racing to the Department of Gaming. The consolidation conveyed regulatory authority for horse racing, dog racing, harness racing, pari-mutuel wagering, boxing and mixed martial arts to the Department of Gaming, effective July 3, 2015. See Laws 2105, Chapter 19.
Arizona Revised Statutes
- Laws 1949, Chapter 61
- Laws 1982, Chapter 310
- Laws 1992, Chapter 337
- Laws 2015, Chapter 19
Related collections at Arizona State Archives
RG 190 – Racing Commission