Lawmakers were told the time is now to approve video slots, because the race tracks are in big trouble, and some say revenue from video slots is the only savior.
“All of a sudden, we see tracks about to close their doors. The wolf is at the door,” said Rep. Greg Stumbo, D-Kentucky House Speaker.
But others say sounding that alarm is only crying wolf and fixing the horse industry’s problem cannot be fixed by more gambling.
“The amount of money that is going to be wagered just on slots is 3 times what is legally gambled in the state right now,” said Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington.
The measure passed the house on Friday by a vote of 52 to 45 and it wasn’t strictly along party lines. Lonnie Napier was among the 8 Republicans who joined many Democrats in approving the bill, because he says he wants gaming limited to the tracks.
“It may be in your neighborhood, convenience store, service station, probably every county in this state. Do I want expanded gambling?absolutely not,” said Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster.
Leading Democrats have touted the "racino" bill as a way to build new schools with proceeds but some have taken offense.
“We ought to be doing the things important to the kids, not fluffing the salaries of the big executives in the KEA,” said Rep. Danny Ford, R-Mt. Vernon.
Now the bill heads to the Senate, where its future is not very bright.
“The Senate has committed that it won’t go very far. Does not have support. Unfortunately the legislature moved forward a bad vote. Based on schools in their district,” said David Edmunds with The Family Foundation.
Senate President David Williams is still pushing his proposal to place a surcharge on lottery tickets and vows the Senate will adjourn Monday at 4:30 if that chamber has not received the House version of the VLT bill that passed Friday.