Easy Way for Bettors to Contact the United States Treasury Department

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has announced that a system has been established at https://www.ntra.com/comment for individuals to submit an e-mail comment directly to the United States Treasury Department in support of newly proposed regulations related to withholding and reporting of pari-mutuel winnings.

Washington DC The proposed regulations, which would replace outdated regulations adopted nearly 40 years ago, more accurately reflect today’s pari-mutuel wagering environment and will positively impact a significant percentage of winning wagers, particularly those involving multi-horse or multi-race exotic wagers. It is believed that the proposed changes will result in tens of millions of dollars in additional pari-mutuel wagering annually. If adopted, the new regulations will not only  promote greater compliance and more accurate reporting and withholding by taxpayers but also reduce burdensome and needless paperwork system-wide.

Efforts spearheaded by the NTRA on behalf of the industry over the past two and a half years came to fruition on December 30 when Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published proposed guidelines designed to modernize withholding and reporting regulations. The 31-page Treasury document, “Withholding on Payments of Certain Gambling Winnings,” clarifies the phrase “the amount of the wager” to include the entire amount wagered into a specific pari-mutuel pool by an individual–not just the winning base unit as is the case today.

In the NTRA’s official response to Treasury on behalf of the industry, submitted Wednesday, NTRA President and CEO Alex Waldrop thanked the Treasury and IRS for recognizing the need to modernize regulations related to the withholding and reporting of pari-mutuel winnings and noted that the newly proposed regulations sufficiently address the industry’s concerns. Waldrop asked the Treasury and IRS to enact the new regulations as quickly as possible following a 90-day comment period that concludes on March 30.

This will positively impact a significant percentage of winning wagers, particularly those involving multi-horse or multi-race exotic wagers.

“With horseracing’s all-important Triple Crown season fast approaching, the NTRA urges Treasury and the Service to adopt the proposed regulations as final regulations as soon as it is administratively feasible. Horseplayers, tracks and other industry stakeholders, including governments, are eager to begin reaping the benefits that will result from these updated withholding and reporting rules,” Waldrop said.

The public comment system at NTRA.com/comment provides each person with a clear, consistent message asking the Treasury to adopt the proposed regulations and urging prompt action.

“A unified message of support is critical as the industry urges Treasury and the IRS to finalize the proposed regulations,” Waldrop added. “We ask all who participate in the horse racing industry to submit a comment to Treasury and the IRS using the NTRA system so that we can send the message loud and clear that all of horse racing supports these changes.”

Facing Huge Deficit, More Gambling Needed in Pennsylvania?

gambling Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania who are resisting tax increases to balance a deep budget deficit are taking steps toward the state’s third expansion of gambling in six years as an alternative source of cash. Lawmakers who support it estimate that an expansion of some sort could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in one-time license fees…  gambling Pennsylvania

Internet Gambling – How Far Away is it?

Internet GamblingAs one of the world’s largest suppliers of slot machines and systems that operate casinos, Bally Technologies, Inc. and many other similar companies are preparing for what many say will be gambling’s next frontier: the Internet. If e-gaming does becomes legal in the United States it will unfurl a whole new market and have serious consequences.

“Legalizing Internet gambling would allow government to open a casino in every home, dorm room, and office in America, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Les Bernal, executive director of Stop Predatory Gambling, a nonprofit group based in Washington that works with local, state, and federal groups to oppose casinos and state lotteries. E-gaming “represents one of the purest forms of predatory gambling.”

I couldn’t agree more. Gambling is absolutely out of control in this country, and it is because of the proliferation of casino and lottery legislation in numerous states. Mindless games of chances. The one-arm bandit. Check your brain at the door.

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How to avoid your arm falling off? Go to the races!

 Handicapper Art ParkerBy ART PARKER

At one time you either went to the track or to Las Vegas to gamble. Now, Americans can gamble in almost every state and the greatest opportunity to do so comes in the form of a slot machine, or video poker or electronic bingo. No matter what name is given to it, the activity features man against machine. The machine is often called by its popular nickname, a one-armed bandit.

I do not know why people like to play against the bandit. These machines are programmed to pay back a certain percentage of the amount deposited over the long haul. That’s how the casino makes money and stays in business. This method of gambling is known as “playing against the house,” which legally fixes odds in its favor. Thoroughbred racing involves pari-mutuel wagering, which simply means the participants play against each other with the winners of a race sharing a common pool of wagers.

One reason I was drawn to thoroughbred racing was because of my educational background.

A large part of America that gambles knows no other method than a slot machine or similar device. The growth of casino gaming came at the perfect time in America because it fit well with the video generation. That generation has generally ignored thoroughbred racing because wagering on racing requires more than pushing a few buttons or pulling a handle. Mechanical gaming appeals to current lifestyle and is accepted by a couple of generations with “easy to do” mentalities. That is the nicest way I can say “lazy.”

Thoroughbred racing has faced challenges in maintaining its share of the gambling market and capturing America’s entertainment dollar. A big problem for thoroughbred racing is that it requires the use of brain power to have any level of success. It is not for those that are lazy and refuse to accept a challenge.  

One reason I was drawn to thoroughbred racing was because of my educational background. A corporate finance major, I was required to read all kinds of financial statements including the stock sheets found in the Wall Street Journal and other financial publications. When you view the past performances you find a similarity to the stock sheets. Bid, ask, PE ratios, fractions, etc. and racing times, finishes and racing records provide statistical evidence for one to consume. All of this is information one can use to evaluate a corporation or an individual horse, depending on which publication is being held at the moment.

While the casino patron sits in front of a machine and must only decide to pull the handle again or quit, the horse player is using brain power, logic and deep thought to make a good bet, which doesn’t necessarily mean a winning bet. A good bet is one where you have an advantage based upon odds. When I bet a horse to win, I try to do the same thing as if I am buying stock in a corporation. I am looking for a bargain. I want a horse that is going off at 10-1 while I am convinced the horse should be 4-1. When I by a stock I want a corporation that is selling for $20 per share when my evaluation tells me it should be $32 per share.

I want a bargain. A slot machine never gives you a bargain because you do not get to make a decision on the individual wager. You only decide whether or not to pull the handle…again.

If people like to gamble, large or small, thoroughbred racing offers the perfect deal. You can go to the actual track, or a simulcast parlor, or you can play via Advanced Deposit Wagering (ADW) on the internet. You can have all of the recreation you want and you can decide if you want company or not. And while you are enjoying your recreational time you can do something mentally challenging and stimulating. I promise you, a slot machine provides no mental challenge or stimulation.

To top things off you can fall in love with the greatest sport of all. It is a sport that involves interesting people and athletes, plus all of the action centers around one of God’s greatest and truly magnificent creations, a horse.

If you have not tried to be a horse player give it a shot. If you occasionally play the horses but also sit on a stool in front of a slot machine, well, come on back to the track. Play the horses where you get to make decisions about investing your dollar. If you keep playing those machines you will either eventually lose all your money or your arm will fall off trying to lose all of your money.

— Art Parker is the author of the recently released handicapping guide “KEENELAND WINNING TRAINER PATTERNS” available now for the upcoming 2011 fall meet. It can be purchased here for less than $10, or for Kindle readers at Amazon.com.