Legislation calling for state licensing of advance deposit wagering companies advanced March 2 as Kentucky lawmakers try to get a handle on the fast-growing operations.
The bill that easily cleared the Senate State and Local Government Committee would require that ADW providers be licensed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. It also would require ADW operators to provide quarterly reports on all wagers made on Kentucky races.
The measure, already approved by the House of Representatives, now heads to the full Senate.
Online and phone betting have become the fastest-growing segment in parimutuel horse wagering, said Republican Sen. Damon Thayer, who chairs the Senate committee. He said it's time to start tracking those enterprises in the hope the information could lead to comprehensive legislation next year dealing with Kentucky's Thoroughbred industry.
Lawmakers have grappled with concerns from industry advocates that Kentucky horse racing is falling behind tracks in other states that have boosted purses, largely through alternative gaming.
A portion of many wagers made on Kentucky horse races goes into the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund, which boosts purses for Kentucky-bred horses at Kentucky tracks. That levy, however, doesn't apply to ADW wagers.
The largest ADW system in the country, TwinSpires.com, is owned by Churchill Downs Inc., a Kentucky-based company.