After the passage of Senate Bill 120 last week by the Kentucky House of Representatives, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission breathed a sigh of relief that historical horse racing (HHR) would become part of the state’s legal definition of permitted gambling. At Tuesday’s commission meeting, the body began dealing with the next steps for HHR in the state.
SB120 has not yet been signed by Gov. Andy Beshear, only because the state senate recessed before forwarding it on to the governor’s office. Once the body reconvenes, Beshear will sign the bill. The governor appeared via video conferencing at the start of Tuesday’s meeting to assure commission members he was looking forward to signing the legislation. His signature is expected sometime next week.
Meanwhile, the commission unanimously approved several rule language changes clarifying language related to HHR so it will be in compliance with SB 120. It approved a set of conditions for facilities to conduct HHR in 2021, which among other things will require operators of HHR to present written reports from an independent testing laboratory confirming that the machines are in compliance with state code and constitute parimutuel wagering. The commission must approve the number of terminals, game themes, facility layout, security protocols, and hours of operation.
The association offering HHR will also have to create a initial seed pool to fund a wagering pool, and seed pools cannot be commingled without written authorization by the commission.
Further guidelines were approved to give commission executive director Marc Guilfoil the authority to approve some administrative changes that HHR operators may request. Some of those requests may later be ratified by the full commission depending upon statute, although more minor requests may be approved without the commission members’ approval.
The commission also ratified Guilfoil’s approval of a request from Kentucky Downs to expand its license to an extension facility in Bowling Green, Ky. The final location for the extension facility and a timeline for its opening have not yet been finalized by the track, but by state regulation it must be within 60 miles of Kentucky Downs without being within 60 miles of another association’s racetrack or 40 miles of a simulcast facility. The request will allow the facility to host simulcast wagering and “exotic wagers yet to be determined,” which could include HHR.
The commission approved a request from Keeneland to begin its fall meet on April 2, rather than April 1 as originally requested.
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