Kentucky's Casino Hopes Move Forward

Officials representing the Kentucky horse industry agreed Wednesday to proposed alternative gaming legislation that would put casinos at four racetracks and four other non-racetrack facilities in the state.

Industry officials have previously pushed for any additional gaming in the commonwealth to be limited to its eight racetracks. However, during a meeting with Rep. Larry Clark Wednesday, industry officials agreed to add additional gaming facilities, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

Clark is seeking a constitutional amendment to allow casino gaming in Kentucky but only if it would be allowed at four non-racetrack facilities. The proposal is being reviewed by industry leaders and final approval could be given in the next few days.

Bob Elliston, president of Turfway Park, confirmed progress was made during the meeting.

"We have a greater understanding after meeting with Rep. Clark of his interests, and I think he has a greater understanding of ours. Progress was made," Elliston said.

It was also discussed during the meeting that the four non-racetrack casinos would pay a subsidy to the Thoroughbred industry, similar to what is done in other states.

"Everybody would have to pay into some type of pool for Thoroughbred racing," Clark said.

The legislative session is more than halfway over and it's still unclear whether the full legislature would agree to placing a constitutional amendment on the November ballot for casino gaming. Some legislators have said passage likely depends on additional support from Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

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