Legislature approached with differing slot machine plans for Horse Industry

By: Tara Hester, Staff Member

Disclaimer: The following post reflects the views of the author and not that necessarily of KJEANRL.

Governor Beshear's slot plan was not received well by the House or Senate. House Speaker Greg Stub filed a competing plan shortly after receiving Beshear's, which would spend the tax revenue from slots on a massive school construction program, instead of helping to erase the shortfall in the next two years budget, as Beshear had proposed. Janet Patton, Beshear Slots Plan Gets Tepid Reception, Lexington- Herald Leader Jan. 21, 2010, available at
http://www.kentucky.com/2010/01/21/1104634/beshear-slots-plan-gets-tepid.html (last April 2, 2010). House Democrats have caucused to get support for Beshear's proposal, which would allow racetracks to add electronic slots under existing lottery laws. Id. However, although no official vote was taken, it appears that there was not much sentiment in favor of Beshear's bill, with one Representative calling the plan "delusional". Id.

Stumbo said of his own competing bill "over a billion dollars worth of construction… best thing we could do for the budget is create jobs all over the state". Id. Stumbo said in his bill anticipates that 400-500 million in state tax revenues will be collected from slots over the next two years when all facilities are fully up and running. Id. Beshear said temporary slots could be up and running within six months, and projected 295 million in tax revenues for the first 18 months of slots. Id. Beshear's plan also takes into account the new casino's in Ohio, which is estimated to cut revenues at Turfway Park by 40%. Id.

The horse industry seems to be very supportive of Beshear's and Stumbo's proposals, in a large part because the horse industry is facing significant competitive challenges. Id. However, while seemingly supporting both Beshear and Stumbo's bills, many in the horse industry are willing to talk with others proposing plans in an effort to help the struggling industry, and it seems that slots may be the best way to do this. Id.