Any individual or business actively involved in horse racing must be licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in order to participate in racing in the province. 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.
All AGCO horse racing licences are issued on an annual basis.
Horse racing licences are issued through the office of the Registrar of Alcohol, Gaming and Racing. In assessing the suitability for licensing, issues of honesty and integrity are considered.
Individuals can obtain a licence through one of the following methods:
- Visit an operating AGCO Racetrack Licensing Office and complete an application with an AGCO Horse Racing Licensing Agent.
- Download the applicable licensing form(s)
- Mail the completed application form(s) to the AGCO Head Office, accompanied by the appropriate licensing fee to:
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
90 Sheppard Avenue E, Suite 200
Toronto ON, M2N 3A1
Attn: Licensing & Registration – Horse Racing
By Fax or Email
- Download the applicable licensing form(s)
- Fax the completed application form(s) to the AGCO Head Office at Attn: “Horse Racing” OR
- Scan and email the completed application form(s) to the AGCO Head Office at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fees can be paid by Visa or Mastercard over the phone with AGCO Head Office at 416-326-8700 or toll-free at 1-800-522-2876.
Horse Racing Licence Card
AGCO horse racing licences are used as verification of identification and licence status at Ontario racetracks. They are also used, by applicable licensees, to gain access to the secure areas of racetrack facilities. AGCO Horse Racing Licence Cards require a photo of the licensee to be taken and are only issued to licensees in person. You can have your photo taken and AGCO Horse Racing Licence Card issued at an AGCO Racetrack Licensing Office.
AGCO Racetrack Licensing Offices are located at every racetrack across the province and are open on race days. Please check the hours of operation of the AGCO Racetrack Licensing Office to confirm availability of Horse Racing Licensing Agents. Horse racing licences can also be obtained at AGCO Head Office, located in Toronto; please call ahead to set up an appointment.
Whenever a licensee is in the backstretch or stable areas of the racetrack association or needs to gain access to the paddock when their horse is racing, the licensee must carry their valid and current AGCO Horse Racing Licence Card on their person. A licensee is required to produce their AGCO Horse Racing Licence Card upon request by an authorized representative of the racetrack association, a Racing Official or a representative or member of the AGCO.
A “guest” of a licensee is allowed in the backstretch, stable or paddock area when accompanied by a licensee, once the guest has been signed in with racetrack association security and approved.
If an AGCO Horse Racing Licence Card is lost, a replacement can be applied for at an AGCO Racetrack Licensing Office. Fees for a replacement card will apply.
What should I bring with me to complete the licence application process?
- Personal details and information to complete the application form(s), including birthdate, address and emergency contact information.
- Picture Identification (e.g. Ontario Drivers Licence).
- Standardbred Canada or United States Trotting Association (USTA) membership number (individuals who are involved in Standardbred racing must be members of one of these organizations).
- Certain categories of licence may require the submission of additional documentation or certification (see Standardbred - Individual Licensing for more information).
A new licensee can expect to undergo a due diligence investigation to determine their suitability for licensing. The total fee amounts for a licence will vary depending upon the category(s) being applied for. For more information on Standardbred licensing fees see: Standardbred - Licensing Fee Schedule.
Standardbred licences for an individual expire on the individual’s birthdate and must be renewed before that date for the licence to stay active. Standardbred licences for Stable Names (including Corporations) expire on December 31st of the calendar year and must be renewed before that date for the licence to stay active.
Renewal forms for individuals who hold a Standardbred licence are mailed out as a courtesy, however it is the licensee’s responsibility to ensure their licences are renewed by the expiry date(s). Renewal applications can be made by following any of the methods described above.
Change of Address
A licensee must provide written notification of any change in permanent address within five (5) days of any change.
A claiming race is a race in which all of the horses are for sale for more or less the same price (the “claiming price”) up until shortly before the race. An individual who does not have a valid AGCO licence must obtain a Claiming Certificate to claim a racehorse.
A Claiming Certificate can be applied for at an AGCO Racetrack Licensing Office and is valid for 30 days. Once a horse is claimed using the Claiming Certificate, the new owner must then apply for a permanent licence as an Owner with the AGCO.
An individual, who already possesses a valid AGCO Owner licence, need not apply for a Claiming Certificate to claim a racehorse.
Lessors and Lessees
When a horse is programmed to race under a Lessee Owner, the owner of the horse, as well as the person or entity leasing the horse, must be licensed.
Who can I contact if I have questions or require assistance?
Questions about licensing or requests for assistance can be directed to the AGCO Head Office horse racing licensing staff during office hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
- By phone: 416-326-8700, or toll-free at 1-800-522-2876.
- By email: email@example.com
Questions can also be directed to the AGCO Horse Racing Licensing Agents at operating racetracks during hours of operation.
Definitions of Licensing Status
In Good Standing
- There are no outstanding issues regarding the licensee.
- The licence is no longer valid for a specific length of time. If the suspension is longer than the expiry date of the licence, the licensee must reapply to be licensed when the suspension is finished.
- The licence is no longer valid and the individual cannot reapply to the AGCO for a licence for 2 years from the date of revocation.
- The application to become a licensee is not granted. The individual cannot reapply for a licence until 2 years from the date of refusal.
Note that a horse will be ineligible to race when:
- An owner, stable or estate does not have a valid licence;
- A temporary licence has expired; or
- A reciprocal licensee has not supplied proof of a valid licence from a recognized racing jurisdiction.