Kentucky Legislation Gives Tracks One-Day Tax Break

Legislation that would spare racetracks an excise tax on special racing days effective July 1 has been introduced in the Kentucky legislature.

The bill, sent to the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, is designed to give tracks a tax break similar to the one Churchill Downs receives when it hosts the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. A state statute allows for the Churchill tax break if the track hosts a one-day event with at least $10 million in purses and it returns within a three-year period.

The legislation under consideration sets the purse threshold at $650,000 for one program at tracks with daily average on-track handle of under $1.2 million. The bill would pertain to this year’s Claiming Crown at Ellis Park, Kentucky Cup at Turfway Park, and perhaps a special program of Kentucky Sires Stakes finals at The Red Mile, a harness track. Next year, Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) day at Turfway could qualify.

Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, indicated Ellis Park owner Ron Geary pushed for the legislation in attempt to help fund and facilitate the Claiming Crown, which will be held in Kentucky for the first time. Geary has said he plans to make it a special event for Ellis Park and western Kentucky.

The state’s excise tax at Ellis Park, Turfway, and The Red Mile is 1.5% of all money wagered in a fiscal year. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, a one-day tax-break would give Ellis Park up to $18,000 and Turfway up to $35,000.

The tax break would pertain to one event per track per year, and each track must offer at least 30 days of live racing.

The bill also contains provisions to shift 0.75% of the excise tax for Thoroughbred tracks and 1% for harness tracks to breed development funds.