COLUMBIA, SC (AP) – Some lawmakers on a committee studying the economic impact of horse breeding and racing in South Carolina have said the group should also consider legalizing betting on horse racing.
The study committee on measures to support the equine industry, composed of two members of the Chamber and two senators, as well as two people from the equine industry and a representative of the Department of Agriculture of state, spend the next eight months studying what horses do for the state’s economy.
They first met last month and are planning more meetings in places where horses are popular, such as Aiken, Clemson and Camden, committee chairman Rep. Russell Ott said. The state newspaper.
the State Law the creation of the committee was voted by the General Assembly in April. He asks the group to study how the state can develop the equestrian industry or reduce barriers to its growth, as well as compare the incentives South Carolina offers to other states and whether South Carolina should cooperate with equestrian facilities in other states.
But during this first meeting, the committee also discussed the authorization of betting on horse races, because the law also allows the group to address “any other matter that the committee considers interesting and beneficial”.
State Senator Dick Harpootlian said any study should include how to make the state more attractive to people out of state who enjoy horses and racing.
“I’m interested in bringing horses here, tourists here, people here to participate and be entertained by the horse industry,” said the Democrat of Columbia. be here.”
But bills to allow betting on horses face a skyrocketing both directly and indirectly in the General Assembly.
The state’s constitution must be changed, requiring a two-thirds vote on an amendment by the House and Senate. The amendment would then have to be approved by a majority of voters.
And one of the state’s worst political scandals of the last century involved a gambling bill. Operation Lost Trust began as an undercover sting to pay cash backing a bill authorizing horse betting. About 18 lawmakers would end up facing charges when the investigation ended about 30 years ago.
Ott said a discussion of the game is needed as part of the larger discussion of the horse industry.
“It’s very important for South Carolina. I think it can be even more important, ”the St. Matthews Democrat said.