COMMON GROUND Magna Entertainment, Churchill Downs, and the New York Racing Association may have their differences, but there is one subject where they should find common ground: tax reform. That issue was overshadowed by the interim report from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Task Force on Racing Integrity and Drug Testing at the 49th annual Jockey Club Round Table on Aug. 19, but tax reform at the state level is an achievable goal. It's questionable if the same can be said of uniformity in medication rules and drug-testing procedures. The NTRA said it is prepared to assist in grass roots lobbying efforts at the state level to change how the racing industry is taxed. Currently, the largest racing states, including California, Florida, Kentucky, and New York (where Magna, Churchill, and NYRA primarily operate), apply a tax on pari-mutuel handle. A comprehensive study by the NTRA Task Force on Economic Regulation concluded that racing should be taxed the same as other businesses--on revenue, rather than on handle. This change would allow tracks to be more flexible on takeout pricing and make it more competitive with other forms of gambling.
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