Horse racing is still rife with crime I’m afraid. I’ve seen it with my own eyes – the corruption, the greed. It’s turned good men bad. I know the FBI is involved, but even sometimes the local governments get their hands caught in the cookie jar.
Like many other FBI probes of legislative corruption, this one focused on expanded opportunities for gambling. The Bluegrass State already has parimutuel wagering; this investigation focused on a new development in the horse industry–betting on races televised from other tracks and the profits to be made from such “intertrack” wagering.
Kentucky was reluctant to embrace the idea, fearing that more televised races would mean fewer live races and less demand for horses produced by the state’s famous thoroughbred industry. Yet the state’s eight race tracks could not ignore the popularity of intertrack wagering, particularly as their handle was threatened by the state lottery started in 1989.
The General Assembly wrote the rules for intertrack wagering. Within the legislature, racing legislation is handled by the Business Organizations and Professions (BOI,) committees. The FBI named its probe Operation BOPTROT for the committees and the trotting races of harness horses.
* Representative Jerry Bronger of Louisville, who chaired the House BOP Committee after McBee lost his seat, pleaded guilty to taking $2,000 in bribes.
* Senator David LeMaster, who chaired the Senate BOP Committee, was charged in May 1993 with extortion, allegedly taking $6,000 in bribes from Spurrier. LeMaster, who announced his resignation the day after he was indicted, denies the charges and is awaiting trial.
* Blandford, who was found guilty of taking $1,500 in payoffs, three payments of $500 each from McBee.
Cross, Al, and Tom Loftus. “Lies, bribes and videotape.” State Legislatures 19.7 (1993): 42+.
That’s from an older article, but I wanted to post that to make a point at how it has always been so widespread and difficult to crack down upon.
As for myself, there’s nothing better than the races; a gin and tonic in my hand, and the program in the other.