Published: March 27, 2024

Sweeping New Bill Would Set Up Kentucky Racing, Gambling Regulatory Corporation

Sweeping new bill would set up Kentucky racing, gambling regulatory corporationA sweeping bill introduced Tuesday would create a new standalone government corporation to handle almost all Kentucky gambling and horse racing.

The 281-page bill would set up the Kentucky Horse Racing and Gaming Corp. to regulate all parimutuel wagering, including historical horse racing machines, as well as sports wagering and charitable gaming. The corporation would replace the existing Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and the Department of Charitable Gaming, both of which are currently under the umbrella of the Public Protection Cabinet. 

The language was inserted into a "shell bill” filed earlier in the legislative session and replaces an amendment pushed through the Senate earlier this month by Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer that would have attached the racing commission to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

That change appears dead. Mage with Javier Castellano wins the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY on May 6, 2023. Skip Dickstein Current bill co-sponsor Thayer, R-Georgetown, acknowledged that House Speaker David Osborne, R-Louisville, came with a better idea: To make the regulatory body a standalone agency similar to the Kentucky Lottery Corp. or the Public Service Commission.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulates all horse racing in the state, including such high-profile races as the Kentucky Derby, as well as the gambling parlors scattered throughout the state that operate thousands of historic horse racing machines. 

Historical horse racing machines at Lexington’s Red Mile. Charles Bertram Senate Bill 299 was discussed in a joint meeting of House and Senate economic development committees.

The Senate committee approved the bill Tuesday, with the House committee expected to take it up later this week.

The full Senate passed the bill later Tuesday, with the vast majority of Republicans voting for it and all Democrats voting no.


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