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  • Alyssa Lyons

WRDW News 12: S.C. bill moves forward to legalize horse race betting

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re days away from the first leg of the Aiken Triple Crown.

A bill is making its way up the ranks again that would create a commission to legalize horse track wagering.

The House Judiciary Committee passed the South Carolina Equine Advancement Act out of the subcommittee unanimously.

“I usually get a table at the track for every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and go for the six weeks that it’s going on,” said Danie Gosier, Aiken resident.

Gosier is used to the horse track in Saratoga, New York, but in Aiken, he has to settle for off-the-books.

“We all put $1 in, and we’ll draw numbers out of a hat for who’s going to win the race. We just do that ourselves,” he said.

Bill Gutfarb is the president of the Aiken Training Track. He said, “People have big gentleman’s bets between each other here. The wagering thing is like putting us behind the eight ball when it comes to other states that make revenue off of their racing industry.”

The effects are visible.

“There used to be 400 horses here and eight racehorses in Aiken. And now we’ve got about 150, a little more than 150,” he said.

It has tracks ready to race into a new era through Advance Deposit Wagering or ADW.

The bill allows pari-mutual betting, which means those who wager on horses that finish in the position or positions for which wagers are taken a share in the total amounts wagered, plus any amounts provided by a licensee, less deductions required or permitted by law, and includes pari-mutuel wagering on races conducted at any licensed pari-mutuel facility.

South Carolina Thoroughbred Breeders Association President Jack Sadler said: “It’s a service that a lot of people in South Carolina, they bet offshore, and we’re losing that money. We will would not have brick and stone buildings. But you could be able to do it remotely. The license fees would bring money into the state. And the wagering dollar would help bring money into the state.”

The South Carolina Equine Commission could approve up to three licenses to offer ADW. A cut would go to grants to improve the equine industry.

Gutfarb said: “It could go to all the equine activities if I think I counted about 10 of them here in Aiken: horse racing, training, polo, steeplechase, dressage.”

To keep it around for another generation.

“It needs to happen,” he said.

The only other form of legal gambling in South Carolina is the lottery.


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