A bill that would deregulate interstate and pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing has been introduced into the U.S. Senate. Currently, the Interstate Horse Racing Act (IHA) regulates off-track wagering in the United States.

Signed into law in 1978, the IHA allows Congress to regulate interstate commerce derived from horse race wagering in order to promote the sport and further off-track betting, such as that done on the Internet or over the phone.

Introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), S 1174 would repeal the IHA on grounds that the law “has not met its original policy goal of furthering the U.S. horse racing industry.” The bill also alleges that total pari-mutuel wagering on Thoroughbred horseracing in the U.S. has declined by 30% since 2002 and that some people avoid wagering at certain tracks because they assume certain trainers competing there administer drugs to horses that affect race results.

Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA) introduced a twin bill into the U.S. House.

National Thoroughbred Racing Association president and chief executive officer Alex Waldrop opposed Udall’s bill on grounds that it threatens the racing industry’s economic viability.

“This mischaracterized one of the nation’s most highly regulated sports and unfairly disparages thousands of people who work every day to make horseracing as safe and fair as possible for all participants,” Waldrop said.

The American Horse Council (AHC) also opposes both bills.

“The Interstate Horse Racing Act is the framework on which the present-day $26 billion horse racing industry is built,” said AHC Presid