It will provide millions to this cash strapped state and bring tax relief to many families.
That's what state house Speaker Greg Stumbo says of his expanded gaming bill for horse tracks, which was filed Friday.
He says it's the missing link in Kentucky's horse racing business: video lottery terminal or gambling machines at places like Churchill Downs or Keeneland. But House Speaker Greg Stumbo says helping the horse industry is just one side of the bill.
“I think it's time we gave all of our low and middle income people in hard times a bit of tax break,” said Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.
Stumbo estimates the lottery terminal could pump $700 million into Kentucky. And he suggests some of that money could take the place of the millions that car owners pay in their state taxes. Other money will go to counties for prisoner treatment.
“I know, with my time as Attorney General, we need to do something in drug treatment, we can't put all of those people in jail, we have to treat them,” said Stumbo.
Unlike last year's casino bill, that didn't even make it to the House floor, Stumbo says this bill would not require a voter referendum. But that's also the reason why the former House Speaker says he's going to vote against it.
“I’ve never been for slots, I've never been for any expanded gaming unless it's a vote of the people. I think it has to be a constitutional amendment,” said Rep. Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green.
Stumbo's bill also calls for a trust fund for drug and alcohol addiction, $2.5 million for problem gambling awareness, and up to $1 million for Kentucky Pride.
“These are only recommendations. If I had it my way, that money would be spent that way,” said Stumbo.
Proceeds from the lottery terminals would also enhance racing purses and breeding improvements.