Indiana Bill Calls for Racing Impact Study

The governor has proposed using industry revenue for other programs.

An Indiana lawmaker has introduced legislation calling for an independent report on the economic impact of the horse racing and breeding industry in the state.

The bill, filed by Republican Sen. Luke Kenley, comes as the industry is again under the microscope in Indiana. Republican Gov. Mike Pence, in his budget proposal, wants to shift gaming revenue that the racing industry receives to other programs.

The racing industry in recent years has been successful in fighting similar plans. Kenley has been an advocate for horse racing and breeding in Indiana.

The bill, sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee, requires the Indiana Horse Racing Commission to report each year on how the state's industry measures up to those in other states. The IHRC already does an annual report, but more information would be necessary.

The legislation also says the commission must "employ the services of an independent contractor to perform a study concerning the economic impact" of horse racing in the state. The study could cost $50,000 to $100,000, according to Kenley's bill.

The more than $50 million a year that goes toward purses and breed development funds for Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and Quarter Horse racing is generated by slot machines located at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Indiana Downs. The tracks each paid $250 million licensing fees for the right to install slots; the fee led to both properties filing for bankruptcy reorganization.

A 2010 study put the economic impact of horse racing in Indiana at $488 million and the economic impact of horse breeding at $588 million.