Kentucky Derby

Betting oversight for horse racing at point of 'chaos'

Kentucky racing, like that in many states, lacks basic controls to track or stop betting problems, according to members of a panel appointed to look into wagering security.

"Our wagering system is flawed," said Mike Maloney, a handicapper on the subcommittee of a task force on horse racing appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear.

"The racing public is at a tremendous disadvantage and the average bettor relies on the state racing commission. Today we fall far short of the mark," he said

Maloney said changes are necessary to stop bets from being made after the start of a race, a practice known as "past posting."

Another problem is cancelling bets after the race has begun, which skews payoffs by taking money out of potential winners' pools. Most racetracks and betting outlets aren't synchronized and tracks often don't keep track of what time the race started, he said.

"This industry lacks oversight," Maloney said. The $15 billion North American pari-mutuel betting market needs national oversight, not 38 separate state jurisdictions, he said.

Another panel member, Cobra Farm owner Gary Bisantz, agreed. "It's total chaos."

Frank Kling, a member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission who is on the panel, said there also are significant problems reconciling the betting data reported by racetracks to the racing commission and that it would take at least two months just to sort through it for potential wagering problems.

The panel heard from national industry experts in security but couldn't vote on any recommendations because there were not enough members for a quorum.

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