More Casino Gaming Proposed for Kentucky Race Tracks

A Kentucky lawmaker is proposing a public referendum next fall for allowing expanded casinos at five horse race tracks.
A Louisville lawmaker is betting big on expanded gambling at Kentucky race tracks. Representative Larry Clark is proposing a vote on casino gaming during next year's General Assembly, which could lead to a public vote next fall. But critics say the state won't win with bigger casinos.

In any game, there are winners and losers. Ron Geary of Ellis Park thinks Kentucky's losing big,

"We should've been doing it for years," says Geary.

He says race tracks like Ellis Park should have expanded gaming.

"There's about 14 states now that have race tracks that also are casinos or have slot machine operations, and we haven't been able to do that in the past," he says.

Representative Larry Clark says he plans to file two measures, including a constitutional amendment allowing for a public referendum next fall, that would expand casinos at five race tracks and add three more casinos. Geary thinks the state would win.

"Kentucky, like many other states, face a very severe budget issue, some budget deficits they're facing," says Geary. "And, they're going to have to come up with some new revenue somehow."

"Same thing it was last time," says Pastor Kenneth Stone of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. He was part of anti-gambling efforts in 2008. Stone says the state won't win with expanded gaming, and neither would Kentuckians.

"I remember back in the day when parimutuel betting was finally approved in Kentucky, it was going to take care of all of our shortfalls, all of our shortcomings, in all our areas, and it didn't work," Stone says. "For those that lose money, which is the vast majority of people, they're left with a hole in their life for that
money that they really didn't have to give in the first place."

If expanded gambling is allowed in race tracks like Ellis Park, they would be required to expand the number of live races by 10% in the first five years.
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