Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear May 2 ceremonially signed into law the Interstate Racing and Wagering Compact legislation sponsored by Republican Sen. Damon Thayer.
The law allows Kentucky to join other states that conduct pari-mutuel wagering and racing to adopt and implement uniform rules and regulations governing the sport. Currently, 38 states offer pari-mutuel wagering and racing, and participants in the industry are often subject to inconsistent rules and penalties that vary from state to state.
The compact will become effective when five more states adopt related legislation.
“The (compact) will give those in the industry a much more consistent avenue in which to operate,” Beshear said in a statement. “I encourage other states that are considering this important legislation to act now in order to streamline what has become a burdensome process for owners, trainers, veterinarians, and others who must look at many variations of the laws that govern their industry in order to come to work each day.
“I am very pleased that Kentucky is among the first to acknowledge the importance of this compact. I would especially like to acknowledge (Democratic Reps.) Susan Westrom and Larry Clark for their hard work and contributions to this effort.”
The compact is designed to allow each member state to maintain control over how racing and wagering is regulated in their individual state. Every proposed rule would go through a public comment period, and states must publish regulations in their respective administrative registers.
State racing commissions will still enforce the rules of racing in their respective jurisdictions. The compact requires a state’s consent to a rule before it becomes applicable within that state’s borders, thus protecting the participating state’s interests.
Kentucky Horse Racing Commission executive director Lisa Underwood has been on the national steering committee that produced the model legislation since its inception in September 2009.
“The compact will provide an efficient method for states to act together to adopt uniform rules,” Underwood said. “Industry stakeholders will have ample opportunities for input and deliberation. This will be beneficial to all of the participants in the industry.”