House budget committee approves bill to tax online wagering for horse races

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comFebruary 12, 2013 

SENADA - Rood and Riddle Dowager

Senada, second from left, came through in the stretch to win the The Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes at Keeneland on Sunday.

KEENELAND - SCENICS - 102311 | COADY PHOTOGRAPHY

FRANKFORT — The House budget committee unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would tax bets placed on horse races via telephone or the Internet.

Preliminary figures show that more than $106 million was wagered by Kentucky residents through so-called advanced deposit wagering in 2012.

Rep. Larry Clark, D-Louisville, said a 0.5 percent tax on those bets would generate more than $400,000 in taxes, with 85 percent of that money going to the tracks. The tracks would have to put 50 percent of the money into purses.

Clark and Rep. David Osborne, R-Prospect, are co-sponsors of House Bill 189.

In-person bets placed at the state's horse racetracks are already taxed. However, people at the tracks can wager online using mobile devices and no tax is collected. That means no money goes to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund, which is used to increase race purses.

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee unanimously approved HB 189 on Tuesday after little discussion. The measure has passed the House in previous years but has met resistance in the Republican-led Senate.

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