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Governor signs bill to preserve historical horse racing

Kentucky’s governor has signed legislation aimed at securing the legality of betting on historical racing machines.

The measure protects the thoroughbred industry but more work remains to enact “a more fair and equitable tax structure,” Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday. His comments reflect calls by some lawmakers for a higher tax rate on historical racing operations.

Slots-style historical racing machines allow people to bet on randomly generated, past horse races. The venture has become a lucrative revenue source for the state’s racetracks.

The state’s racing industry pumped millions of dollars into developing historical horse racing parlors. Tracks reinvested some of the revenue to make Kentucky’s horse racing circuit more competitive with casino-backed tracks elsewhere.

The bill signed by Beshear seeks to fix flaws that led Kentucky’s Supreme Court to rule at least some forms of wagering on historical horse racing didn’t meet pari-mutuel wagering standards. The measure inserts such operations into the definition of pari-mutuel wagering.