Racing & Gaming Institute: Backstretch Wage Compliance Increases

Panelists at the Saratoga Institute on Racing and Gaming Law Aug. 12 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. painted a picture of increased compliance in the wake of a 2008 investigation into wage practices by the state of New York.
Titled “Labor and Immigration Law in the Racing Industries,” the panel featured anecdotes of backstretch life by Jim Gallagher, the executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, and trainer Gary Contessa, as well as a report on noncompliance by Tricia Kakalec, an attorney from the New York State Office of the Attorney General.
It’s a misperception, said Gallagher, that the backstretch workers are a “huge undocumented workforce that is slave labor” to racing, saying that the New York Gaming Commission licenses everyone who works on the backstretch and that the New York Racing Association will not issue a badge to anyone who is not licensed.
“This is a highly regulated industry,” he said.


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