09/18/2008 11:00PM

Kentucky panel proposes raising takeout

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Members of a task-force subcommittee appointed by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said Thursday that the state should consider raising parimutuel takeout to close a budget shortfall for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

The takeout hike was one of a number of possibilities discussed by the subcommittee on Thursday as a way to raise an additional $1 million per year for the racing commission's budget. The racing commission has consistently cited a need for more funding over the past two years as a way to pay for additional staff and an expanded drug-testing program.

The task force has been asked by Beshear to issue recommendations by Dec. 1 on a number of racing topics. Subcommittees are studying economic issues, drug-testing procedures, and safety issues, among other topics.

Kentucky has one of the lowest takeout rates in the country, at 16 percent for straight wagers and 19 percent for all other wagers.

Other recommendations for increasing funding for the commission included using uncashed betting vouchers; increasing the fees paid by tracks to the commission; taxing bets placed through account-wagering operations; charging owners for each horse who starts in the state; and dedicating the sales tax paid on claimed horses to the commission, according to subcommittee members.