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Gambling Expansion Proposed

By: Marcus Conroy Email
By: Marcus Conroy Email

A Senate committee is working on a bill that would expand gambling at race tracks.

One senator says the goal is to help the Kentucky equine industry, which some say is struggling.

"Horses are leaving kentucky for other states with more lucrative purses, more lucrative breeder incentive programs. We need to do something to help stem the tide," Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said.

Senator Thayer is strongly against adding slots. But he says a new form of electronic gambling called *instant racing,* could substantially help the industry, and the state.

"It creates jobs, creates spending, more people buy horses, and more people race horses in Kentucky," Thayer said.

However, not everyone supports the proposed bill. Kentucky's Restore America Director Jeff Fugate says the organization is strongly against any form of expanded gambling.

"It helps only those who own the gambling. It hurts the society, it hurts the culture," Fugate said.

Keeneland Director of Communications Jay Blanton says he is reserving judgment on the bill for now, but is hopeful it could help the industry.

"We are very encouraged by the dialogue and thoughts that are going into addressing the challenges of Kentucky's signature industry," Blanton said.

Thayer and his committee are still tweaking the bill, and hope the bill will come up for a vote in the Senate later this week.


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