How to get a multi-state racing license in one easy step

April 1, 2018

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The National Racing Compact allows people to apply once to be licensed in multiple racing jurisdictions in North America.

by Dave Briggs

Pat Thompson believes the National Racing Compact (NRC) is just the solution for anyone that has ever been frustrated by the racing licensing process.

“Give it a shot because I really think you’ll like it … I think you’ll find it very useful,” said Thompson, who has been executive director of the (NRC) for 13 years.

Thompson explained the Compact, which debuted in the year 2000, is, “an interstate compact created by the commissions for the benefit of the horsemen that need to be licensed in multiple states. We do both standardbred and thoroughbred licenses, so there are 26 jurisdictions total that participate. We can do it for owners, trainers, drivers that fit the licensing criteria.

“Trainers and drivers need to have 100 lifetime starts before they can go through our program. Most of what we do is owners. So, we do this using one application, one fingerprint card. The fingerprint card is good for the rest of your life and you’ll never have to be fingerprinted again, as long as you are with the Compact. Your application is good for three years… Through the Compact, legally we can store the fingerprint cards.

“Every three years, the applicant would have to fill out a renewal application, but it’s one page, front and back.”

The NRC’s fee is $225 for three years of service. Each state or province’s licensing fees are added to the bill.

“Nobody complains about the fee, really,” Thompson said. “We’re not structured in a way to make money. That basically covers our costs. The $225 covers our staff of four people.

“You can call as many times as you want and then, from that point forward, the only fees that we’ll collect from you is what we have to forward to the state. It makes it really simple on the applicant. Once they get an application and a fingerprint on file with us, all they have to do is call or email and say ‘add Kentucky for me’ or whatever.”

Member jurisdictions are: Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Participating jurisdictions are: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Ontario, Pennsylvania (thoroughbred only), Texas and Wyoming.

“There is one little catch… Pennsylvania harness does not participate,” Thompson said. “Some folks think it might be possible (to add them) with the new administration (in Pennsylvania), so I’ll definitely try to set something up with them.”

The NDC has about 2,600 licensees between thoroughbred and standardbred participants, Thompson said.

The idea was first broached in the late-1960s and Thompson said it took Racing Commissioners International (RCI), “30 years to figure out a way to do it. The biggest problem was that the states couldn’t share FBI information with each other. The legal way to do it is through an interstate compact. There are 15 member jurisdictions of the compact and then there are 11 jurisdictions that just participate. The 15 jurisdictions, each one of them names a delegate to a board and they are the oversight.”

For more information, check out the National Racing Compact’s website:, its Twitter feed (@racingcompact) or email Pat Thompson directly at:

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