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Bill seeks to bolster horse racing industry

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Lawmakers worried about preserving
Kentucky's horse capital status presented a plan Thursday that
offers a cash infusion to bolster the state's racing industry by
taxing Internet betting and allowing a new form of gambling on old
horse races.

The measure cleared the Senate State and Local Government
Committee on an 11-1 vote, signaling bipartisan backing to boost a
signature Kentucky industry, which some fear is falling behind as
tracks elsewhere have sweetened purses by offering casino-style

The proposal offered by Sen. Damon Thayer would open Kentucky
race tracks to Instant Racing, a pari-mutuel-style game in which
gamblers bet on past races without knowing the names of the horses.

Money generated from a 1.5 percent fee on Instant Racing wagers
would flow into a fund meant to supplement race purses at Kentucky
tracks for Kentucky-bred horses.

Another key feature would impose a 1.5 percent tax on Internet
wagering of Kentucky horse races. The proposal seeks a share of the
money from the growing popularity of online and phone betting. That
revenue also would be directed to boost live racing in Kentucky.

Thayer, R-Georgetown, said the proposal was a way to offer broad
support for the industry - from the tracks to the horse owners,
breeders, trainers and jockeys.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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