03/28/2010 11:00PM

Kentucky tax bill goes to House


The Kentucky House of Representatives has been sent a bill that would place a 1.5 percent tax on any wager made by a Kentucky resident through an account-wagering operation.

It was unclear Monday if the Democratic-led House planned to consider the legislation, which was passed on party lines in the Republican-led Senate on Friday. House Speaker Larry Clark did not return a phone call by late afternoon on Monday, the second-to-last day of the session before a nine-day break for religious holidays.

The bill originated in the House, with Clark as its sponsor, as a 0.5 percent tax on account-wagering bets by Kentucky residents. It has been targeted for a number of amendments over the past several weeks, including a failed plan by Republican Sen. Damon Thayer to use the legislation to authorize electronic gambling machines at Kentucky racetracks. Thayer removed the gambling-machine amendments after the Republican leadership in the Senate withdrew support for the measure.

The bill would direct all of the proceeds from the tax to the state's Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund. The fund provides bonuses to the owners of Kentucky-bred horses.

Although supporters have said that they intend for the tax to be paid by account-wagering operators, companies that provide Internet and telephone betting services to Kentucky customers could pass the tax on to Kentucky residents by using net-pool pricing to adjust payouts on the bets to reflect the impact of the tax.