Senator Thayer Pulls in the Reins on his Gambling Amendment

By: Natasha Farmer, Staff Member

Republican Senator Damon Thayer called off a committee vote on his proposed constitutional amendment on January 13. Janet Patton, Senator Calls Off Committee Vote on Gambling Amendment, Lexington Herald-Leaser, Jan. 14, 2010, available at http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/ story/1094981.html (last visited Jan. 17, 2010). His proposed amendment, if passed by the full Senate, would allow video lottery terminals in up to seven counties that have racetracks, but the racetracks would have to compete for this license. Id. This bill was expected to pass the Senate State and Local Government Committee; however, it was unlikely to pass a floor vote by the full Senate. Id. Thayer believed that delaying the bill would give him more time to gain additional support for his bill. Ron Mitchell, Thayer Delays Committee Vote on Gaming Bill, January 14, 2010, available at http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/54796/thayer-delays-committee-vote-on-gaming-bill (last visited Jan. 17, 2010.) Thayer said that he "wanted to see if there is anyone else that is willing to come to the table." Id.


Many leaders and racetracks of the horse industry have opposed Senate Bill 21 because "it does not guarantee that tracks get expanded gambling." Janet Patton, Senator Calls Off Committee Vote on Gambling Amendment, Lexington Herald-Leaser, Jan. 14, 2010, available at http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/story/1094981.html (last visited Jan. 17, 2010). But, Thayer said he has heard from a few "rank and file" horsemen that are disappointed with the horse industry opposing his bill. Id. Thayer explained that delaying the vote until later this month will hopefully translate into bipartisan support. Id. "Gambling Licenses are something of value to the people of Kentucky. A competitive bidding process is likely to result in higher fees to the state," Thayer explained. Id. Furthermore, he said that increased purses from the slots would bring more racehorses, which would generate revenue for the tracks. Id.


Senator Ed Worley has said no Democrat will vote for Thayer's bill. Id. If Worley's statement is true, Thayer's bill will not pass because a constitutional amendment needs at least 23 votes in the Senate to pass. Id. Only time will tell if Thayer's amendment can gain enough bipartisan support to pass through the Senate.