Kentucky Horse Racing Winnings will be Paid in Full

Winning Horse racing tickets are about to have slightly larger payouts in Kentucky. Starting Friday, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced to the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation (TIF) that bettors will have winnings paid to the penny.  

Previously, an unbroken return on a show bet was $1.4854928, the return for every $1 was rounded down to $1.40, while a $2 bet was rounded to $2.80. Now, with the change, a winning bettor off a $1 wager will receive $1.48 and the $2 bettor would get $2.96.  

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“This is a welcome and long overdue shift in pari-mutuel wagering to pay bettors the entirety of their duly deserved winnings,” Patrick Cummings, TIF’s Executive Director, said in a media release.  

“Kentucky is leading the way, and if a horseplayer wants to enjoy the entirety of a winning dividend, they should be betting on races run in Kentucky.” 

The shift in Kentucky’s horse wagering returns comes as a result of three months of legislation that was passed by the Kentucky General Assembly and signed into law. 

For the modern history of pari-mutuel wagering in American horse racing, winnings have been rounded to the lowest 10-cent unit with limited exceptions. The dividend now being rounded to the lowest penny will benefit Kentucky horse racing bettors in the future.  

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Kentucky First to Change

“This will be the first time in American history a racing jurisdiction is requiring payment to the penny for all wagers and we hope it will not be the last,” Cummings said. “This should put more money in the hands and accounts of horseplayers and inspire additional churn, something everyone across the sport should seek, yet remarkably eludes us as churn-killing super exotic bets and jackpot bets have expanded.” 

Over the last five fiscal years, an estimated $35 million was collected and retained as breakage from Kentucky races. Now, with the new law, almost all of that money will return to the winning bettors.  

“Breaking to the penny will put millions of dollars back into the hands of horseplayers each year, wherever they are betting on Kentucky racing,” Cummings said. “Until other states make the change, Kentucky will have the advantage.” 

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