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Regulatory Resources

Alcohol And Gaming Commission Of Ontario

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) acts in the public interest to govern, direct, control and regulate horse racing in all its forms in Ontario, the operation of racetracks and the licensing of racetracks and racing participants.

To fulfill its mandate in the horse racing sector, the AGCO performs a number of core regulatory functions, including:

  • Officiating live racing, ensuring compliance with the Rules of Racing
  • Issuing licences to individuals and businesses involved in the horse racing industry
  • Conducting investigations into serious racing violations, including fraud and hidden ownerships, due diligence investigations and investigations of horse abuse, race fixing or other racing and rule infractions
  • Regulating racetracks, which includes licensing and reviewing racetrack business plans, backstretch improvement plans, fire safety plans and health and safety improvements
  • Supporting compliance and administration of the human drug testing and breathalyzer program, searches for prohibited items (drugs/syringes), and enforcement of racetrack security standards

Alcohol And Gaming Commission – Rules Of Thoroughbred Racing 2018

The Rules of Racing are only available on the AGCO’s website. The most current edition was produced effective November 30, 2018. Changes to the rules are enacted through a Directive issued by the Board of the AGCO.    Licensees are reminded to check the AGCO website or AGCO Head office periodically for any new Directives. Access the current  Rules of Thoroughbred Racing.

Licensing With The Alcohol And Gaming Commission

Any individual or business actively involved in horse racing must be licensed by the AGCO. This includes owners of race horses, trainers, drivers and jockeys, grooms, anyone requiring access to the backstretch or paddock of the racetrack, pari-mutuel clerks and management staff of the racetrack. The business that operates the racetrack must also be licensed and must apply to license any off-track sites, otherwise known as teletheatres.

The AGCO has adjusted the expiry date for all individual Thoroughbred licenses to fall on the licensee’s or applicant’s birthdate.

Effective March 2, 2020 all transactions with the AGCO must be completed online through iAGCO. Paper applications are no longer accepted for horse racing-related licenses and registrations. For more information, visit the iAGCO Guide for Horse Racing. Please make sure the AGCO always has your current mailing address.

On March 18, 2020 the AGCO announced that, in light of the extraordinary measures being taken by the Government of Ontario to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, it would extend the term of all Horseperson licences for one year. Also, given the seasonal nature of horse racing, Horseperson licences (including stables and partnerships) that have expired within the last six months will also be renewed for one year, subject to any rulings or other regulatory requirements. For more information, visit AGCO will extend the term of your active licence, authorization and/or registration.

Canadian Pari-mutuel Agency

The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) is a Special Operating Agency within Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada that regulates and supervises pari-mutuel betting on horse racing at racetracks across Canada, thereby ensuring that pari-mutuel betting is conducted in a way that is fair to the public.

The Agency is funded through the collection of a levy of 0.8% on each bet placed in Canada Equine Drug Control Program

Equine Drug Control Program

There are many drugs and medications that, if administered to a horse, could affect the outcome of a race. The CPMA provides an Equine Drug Control Program that is designed to deter the uncontrolled use of drugs or medication in race horses participating in pari-mutuel races.

Urine or blood samples are collected from horses before or after a race and are analyzed at a laboratory contracted by the CPMA. When a prohibited substance in a sample is detected the results are reported to the appropriate provincial regulatory body for enforcement action.

Elimination Guidelines – Revised April 3, 2023

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, through the Equine Drug Control Program of the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA), conducts research into equine drug elimination, a program designed to aid the racing industry. The research involves standardbred mares stabled at the Agiculture and Agri-Food Canada Equine Drug Evaluation Centre.

The approximate nature of the data presented is stressed. Drug absorption and elimination are influenced by many factors, including the horse (age, sex, etc.), its environment (diet, training, etc.) and the drug (dosage, drugmixture, co-administration of drugs and/or supplements etc.). You should be aware that the dosage of the drug may vary with different preparations and manufacturers. Be sure to read the label of the product before use. Taking all factors into consideration, individual horses may have longer or shorter periods of elimination. You should consult with your veterinarian for advice and guidance in the administration of drugs to your horse.

The Elimination Guidelines are intended as information only and do not, in any way, supersede or relieve responsibility for compliance with the Pari-Mutuel Betting Supervision Regulations and provincial racing rules. If you are not already, you should become familiar with these rules.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Official Racing Laboratories assume no liability for positive tests which may occur as the result of drugs administered within quantity and time frames set out in this publication.