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Betting increases at gambling parlor operated by Red Mile, Keeneland

Betting handle at the Red Mile in Lexington improved month to month, according to figures from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Betting handle at the Red Mile in Lexington improved month to month, according to figures from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Herald-Leader File Photo.

Betting on historical horse racing, the only kind of legal electronic gambling in Kentucky, was up 51.5 percent in October compared to the same month a year ago, to almost $72 million before payouts were made to winners, according to figures reported by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

But compared to the previous month, the handle was flat overall and at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, the state’s biggest historical racing betting venue.

Handle at Ellis Park in Henderson was down 12 percent compared to the previous month, while overall handle for the month at Red Mile/Keeneland in Lexington was up 6.5 percent compared to September.

Kentucky Downs continued to top the other tracks in overall betting, with more than $42 million wagered, still a new monthly record figure for the track near the Tennessee border, but average daily handle fell slightly to just under $1.4 million.

The joint gambling parlor operated by the Red Mile and Keeneland had an October handle of $22.5 million, with average daily handle up 3 percent to $726,190. Ellis Park’s handle fell to $7.3 million, with the daily average down 15 percent to $236,000.

Most of the money wagered on the electronic games, which are based on previously run horse races, is returned to bettors in the form of winnings. The state received about $1.08 million in taxes for October, with most of it dedicated to equine-related funds. The state general fund received $268,784. For the fiscal year to date, the state has received more than $4.2 million, including about $1.05 million for the general fund.

Since historical horse racing was approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, total handle has topped $2.02 billion, generating $30.3 million in tax revenue, including $8.4 million for the general fund.

The legality of the games has been challenged by the conservative Family Foundation; the case is pending in Franklin Circuit Court.

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