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Kentucky commission approves 'Instant Racing'

July 20, 2010

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Wagering on historical horse races ("Instant Racing") will be allowed at licensed Kentucky horse racing tracks under proposed regulations approved Tuesday by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC).
Commissioners voted to change the language in existing regulations that address definitions applicable to Thoroughbred racing, Standardbred racing, and Quarter Horse/Appaloosa/Arabian racing. The existing regulations that govern pari-mutuel wagering for those breeds will be replaced by new regulations that address so-called instant racing or wagering on historical races for all three classifications of racing.
The KHRC also approved new regulations that formalize the approval process for “exotic wagering” with the regulations specific to all three racing classifications. These new regulations will require each exotic wager, whether on a live or historical horse race, to be approved by the KHRC before it can be offered to the public. Previously approved exotic wagers, such as Exactas, Trifectas, and carryover Pick 6, are grandfathered into the new regulations. They also require the racing associations and horsemen to come to an agreement on how to share the tracks’ statutorily approved takeout.
“The Commission staff, at our request, took into account the opinion of the Office of the Attorney General in recommending we adopt these regulations,” said Bob Beck, KHRC chair. “I believe the approval of these regulations will help our ailing racing industry by providing much needed revenue to increase purses and help keep owners, trainers and their horses in Kentucky.”
The Attorney General’s opinion states that wagering on historical horse races is not currently allowed because that type of wagering is not defined by the administrative regulations. The Commissioners, in filing the amended and new regulations, believe this course of action will remedy that issue.
The wagering on historical races is identical to pari-mutuel wagering on live horse races, in that patrons are wagering among themselves, and not against the race track, with the money going into designated pari-mutuel pools.  Winning wagers on historical races will be paid solely from these designated pools. Bettors will place wagers on historical races using terminals that operate like the self-service totalizators that many tracks are using today to sell tickets on live races.
The regulations will be filed with the Legislative Research Commission and will go through the administrative regulation review process.
Also Tuesday, the Commission, all eight of the licensed horse racing associations in Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Revenue are filing a petition in Franklin Circuit Court asking the Court to confirm that: 1)The Commission has the statutory authority to regulate pari-mutuel wagering of horse racing under Chapter 230 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS); 2) The licensed operation of pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse racing, as authorized by the regulations, does not contravene the statutes prohibiting gambling under Chapter 528 of the KRS, and; 3) The Department of Revenue’s determination that revenue generated by pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse races is subject to the pari-mutuel tax is a valid and lawful exercise of its statutory authority to interpret and enforce the tax laws of the Commonwealth.
The regulations will go through the normal approval process so there will be a public hearing for comment at 10 a.m. Sept. 29 at The Red Mile in Lexington.  (with files from KHRC)
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