Report: KY Racetrack VLT Bill Sought

A Kentucky lawmaker plans to file legislation to authorize VLTs at racetracks.

Democratic Kentucky Rep. Greg Stumbo plans to file legislation to authorize Kentucky Lottery Corp.-operated video lottery terminals at the state’s racetracks.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Dec. 21 that Stumbo, who will seek to become Speaker of the House, is seeking revenue to offset a state budget shortfall and to assist the state’s racing industry.

“I’m convinced if we don’t do something, we’re going to lose our horse industry,” Stumbo told the Herald-Leader. “We may end up with just two tracks.”

Stumbo apparently was referring to Churchill Downs and Keeneland. The tracks in need of the most immediate assistance for purses are Ellis Park, Kentucky Downs, and Turfway Park, as well as three harness tracks, including The Red Mile in Lexington.

A draft of Stumbo’s bill proposes to dedicate 80% of the racetracks’ VLT revenue to purse enhancements, but Stumbo told the Herald-Leader specifics of how to spend the money are still being debated.

The Governor’s Task Force on the Future of Horse Racing in Kentucky recently issued a report that called for higher purses, but it didn’t directly recommend expanded gambling. The report cited competition from other states in which horse racing receives gaming subsidies.

Stumbo’s proposed measure would limit VLTs to racetracks, the newspaper reported. Earlier this year, a push by Gov. Steve Beshear for casino gambling at tracks and non-track locations stalled in the General Assembly.