Legislative panel allows regulation on instant gaming to move forward

05/11/2011 03:51 PM

Kentucky moved closer to allowing a form of instant racing games at racetracks after a legislative panel on Tuesday was one vote shy of blocking regulations to govern it.

The legislature’s Administrative Regulation Review Committee took up the regulation that will allow that type of game in which people can bet on previously run and recorded races.

The panel voted 4-1 with one pass in favor of striking down the regulation. But blocking it requires more than half of the eight-person panel — five votes — to toss out a regulation.

“We made a very compelling case to find it deficient, but it takes a majority of the committee,” said Republican state Sen. Joe Bowen of Owensboro. Bowen co-chairs the joint committee.

Bowen said the Republicans objected to the regulation because they don’t believe betting on previously run and recorded races is a form parimutuel betting.

“There’s no live race involved,” Bowen said. “It’s one person placing a bet on a historical event and pulling from a pool of money that’s been generated from other individuals betting on previous races.”

Bowen and three Republican colleagues — state Sens. Alice Forgy Kerr of Lexington and David Givens of Green County and Rep. Danny Ford of Mount Vernon — voted to shoot down the regulation.

State Sen. Joey Pendleton, a Democrat from Hopkinsville, voted in support of the legislation, according to the official legislative record. And state Rep. Johnny Bell, a Democrat from Glasgow, passed. That allowed the regulation to move to the next step.

Two other Democrats, state Reps. Bob Damron of Nicholasville and Jimmie Lee of Elizabethtown, weren’t present.

Next, the regulation heads to another joint committee, most likely the licensing and occupations committee, Bowen said.

Pendleton said he favored putting the new form of gaming in place.

“I don’t see that as expanded gaming,” he said. “You’ve got a dying industry in the horse industry. This is certainly not doing something that’s not going on at the racetracks now. I don’t see any difference morally.”

Allowing instant-racing-type betting at racetracks has been challenged in the court system. The case is currently sitting before an appeals court.

- Ryan Alessi with additional reporting by Lanny Brannock


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