03/25/2004 12:00AM

Kentucky hub bill advances


A bill that would allow for the establishment of an account-wagering hub in Kentucky continued to move forward on Thursday in the last days of the state legislative session.

The bill, which passed out of the Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee on Tuesday, would allow racetracks or account-wagering companies to create wagering hubs in the state. The bill does not provide for any taxes on betting through the hub.

The legislation appears to be crafted to provide incentives for several established account-wagering companies to pull up stakes and move their operations to Kentucky. Regulations established by Oregon - a popular state for account-wagering hubs - require account-wagering companies to pay taxes of one-quarter of 1 percent of handle on U.S. races.

Television Games Network, Youbet.com, AmericaTab, and The Racing Network all have their hubs in Oregon. Last year, handle through those four Oregon operations was $813 million.

"It gives us the capability of getting a TVG or a similar-type operation here," said Jim Host, Kentucky's commerce secretary, on Thursday afternoon.

Kentucky racing officials said Thursday that they expected the hub bill - which was attached to a bill allowing Quarter Horses conceived by artificial insemination to race in the state - to be voted on in the Senate on Thursday before moving to the House on Friday, the legislative session's final day.