Damon Thayer

Damon Thayer

Anne M. Eberhardt

Compact Legislation Pre-filed in Kentucky

National Racing Compact legislation has been pre-filed in Kentucky.

Republican Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer has pre-filed a bill that would authorize an interstate racing and wagering compact with Kentucky as a member.

The National Racing Compact, on the table for a few years, would require six member states to launch. Other states expected to adopt legislation in 2011 are Delaware, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia, officials said.

The Association of Racing Commissioners International is a major proponent of the compact, which would maintain states’ rights in various initiatives but allow them to adopt common policies. It is viewed by some as an alternative to federal intervention.

“The thought of the federal government and federal bureaucrats running horse racing is not an approach that I support,” Thayer said in a statement accompanying a release on the Dec. 16 pre-filing of the bill. “This compact provides a common-sense solution between total deregulation and opening up the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 to allow for federal intervention.”

On Dec. 20, Thayer said Kentucky Horse Racing Commission executive director Lisa Underwood would continue to discuss the compact with various industry leaders to garner support. Kentucky already is a member of the National Licensing Compact, which also required a core of support from member states.

“I think Kentucky can be a leader on this issue,” Thayer said.

The compact was a focal point of a meeting during the 2010 National Council of State Legislators conference in Louisville, Ky. Republican Kentucky Senate President David Williams also said he supports the concept.

RCI president Ed Martin has said the compact could assist racing regulators on a number of levels, including cost savings for member states.

The 2011 General Assembly session in Kentucky officially begins Jan. 4, but action on bills won’t take place until Feb. 2. The short 30-day session runs through March 22.