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.
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.
Effective March 2, 2020 all transactions with the AGCO must be completed online through iAGCO. Paper applications are no longer accepted for horse racing-related licenses and registrations. For more information, visit the iAGCO Guide for Horse Racing.
Please make sure the AGCO always has your current mailing address by by calling Customer Service Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm at 1-800-522-2876 or by updating your iAGCO online account.
Use of iAGCO Online Services for Horse Racing Licensing
To participate in racing in Ontario, licensees must:
- Ensure they hold a valid licence
- Know their AGCO licence number so their licence status can be verified in iAGCO
- Be prepared to provide government photo identification to verify their identity
With the launch of iAGCO services, the AGCO no longer issues AGCO horse racing licence cards (licensee photo identification cards) or validation stickers.
Licensees are not required to print their licence and carry it with them, provided they have government identification and know their licence number.
Licensees who wish to access their licence certificate or wallet-size cut out online at www.agco.ca/iAGCO must first create an iAGCO account. For more information, please see the iAGCO Tutorial: How to create an account at www.agco.ca/videos-and-webinars
What do I need to complete the licence application process?
- Personal details and information to complete the application, including birthdate, address, email address and emergency contact information.
- 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 licensing fees see: Horse Racing Licensing Fees.
Licences issued to individuals participating in Thoroughbred racing in Ontario expire on their birthday, and must be renewed online through the iAGCO portal for either one or two years. Licences which have expired within 5 years are considered to be renewals, not new licences. Renewals must be completed online through the iAGCO portal. Licensees are reminded it is their responsibility to have their licence renewed in good standing. With the launch of iAGCO, licensees can look up their licence status, along with the month and year of expiry.
As per the blog post AGCO will extend the term of your active licence, authorization and/or registration released on March 18, 2020, all horseperson licences will be extended for one year, to reflect the fact that those licences renew on an individual’s actual birth date. Also, given the seasonal nature of horse racing, horse person licences that have expired within the last six months will also be renewed for one year, subject to any rulings or other regulatory requirements.
Change of Address
A licensee must provide written notification, online through the iAGCO portal or by calling Customer Service, of any change in permanent address within five (5) days of any change.
To claim a Standardbred racehorse in Ontario, an individual must hold a valid and current AGCO licence and a legal entity must hold a Stable licence or Estate/Trust licence. Anyone meeting these requirements can apply for a Claiming Certificate to become eligible to claim a horse.
A Claiming Certificate can be used at any time during the Standardbred racing season.
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 Customer Service 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.