Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear Signs Breeders’ Cup Tax Incentive Legislation

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, March 17, 2015  
Contact Information:  Kerri Richardson
Terry Sebastian

New law exempts live wagering from excise tax

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Steve Beshear today signed into law HB 134 which will exempt the pari-mutuel tax on wagering on live races at Keeneland during the two days of the Breeders’ Cup Oct. 30 and 31, 2015. The exemption will remain in effect through Dec. 31, 2017.

The incentive is provided as a normal course of business in other racing jurisdictions across the United States where the Breeders’ Cup is held. When the championships were last held in Kentucky at Churchill Downs in 2011, the amount was estimated to be about $750,000, according to Breeders’ Cup officials. Under the current agreement between the host track, in this case Keeneland, and the Breeders’ Cup, the incentive is part of the total pool of revenues shared by the two organizations.

“The Breeders’ Cup will have a tremendous economic impact on Kentucky as tens of thousands of horse racing fans from around the world will visit Keeneland the last week of October,” said Gov. Beshear. “Providing this tax incentive further indicates Kentucky’s desire to make the Commonwealth a desirable location for the Breeders’ Cup for years to come.”

When the Breeders’ Cup was hosted by Santa Anita Park in 2013, the estimated economic impact on the Los Angeles area was estimated to be $65 million, according to a study done on behalf of the Breeders’ Cup.

“We are very appreciative of the Kentucky General Assembly and Governor Steve Beshear for recognizing the tremendous economic impact that the Breeders’ Cup World Championships have when it is hosted in the Bluegrass by enacting HB 134 into law,” Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Craig Fravel said. “While this is the first time the event will be held in Lexington, in eight previous editions of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, the Commonwealth has demonstrated its welcoming support for world-class Thoroughbred participants from around the world ... something that doesn’t go unnoticed by the Breeders’ Cup leadership when we look toward the future.”

“We thank Governor Beshear and the Kentucky General Assembly for their strong support of this exciting world championship event, and we look forward to showcasing the commonwealth to a global audience,” said Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason. “This is a significant economic development initiative that will not only enhance the purses for the greatest two days in racing, but also the entire patron experience.”

“This legislation supports Kentucky’s status as the horse capital of the world and I am thankful for the support it drew throughout the process,” said Rep. Dennis Keene, of Wilder. “Attracting high profile events such as the Breeders’ Cup shines a spotlight on the beauty and history of Keeneland, while also creating economic benefits that will extend far beyond the track.”

“Kentucky has and continues to be the horse racing capital of the world, known far and wide for its championship horses and races,” said Rep. David Osborne, of Prospect. “I’m pleased to have helped this legislation reach the Governor’s desk in helping to bring the Breeders’ Cup back to the Commonwealth.”