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Takeover of Mass. racing panel takes shape

The state’s gambling panel, acknowledging that it is unlikely to win a delay in its mandatory takeover of the state Racing Commission, approved an interim takeover plan Tuesday to minimize the disruption to the racing industry when the gambling board takes charge May 20.

Under the plan, the agency currently overseeing racing - the Division of Professional Licensure, part of the Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation - will continue to handle the state’s day-to-day oversight and administration of the industry, such as managing hiring and human resources, rule enforcement, and ensuring public safety.

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Appeals and other hearings that historically have come before the Racing Commission will be heard by Massachusetts Gaming Commission member Gayle Cameron, who will present summaries of the hearings and her recommendations to the full Gaming Commission for action.

The casino legislation signed last November by Governor Deval Patrick transferred the duties of the Racing Commission to the new panel.

The new commission’s chairman, Stephen Crosby, has suggested that the transfer be put off while the Gaming Commission is still in its infancy. But state lawmakers have been reluctant to consider reopening debate on the casino law, which finally passed in 2011 after years of failed attempts.

Under the temporary takeover plan, “nothing will change for the folks in the racing world,’’ Crosby said. By next winter, the commission will be more prepared to consider any possible improvements to its oversight of the industry, he said.

Mark Arsenault can be reached at marsenault@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark.
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