Senate Panel Rejects Slots Bill

by Rick Howlett on June 22, 2009

The Kentucky Senate’s Appropriations and Revenue Committee has rejected a bill that would allow video lottery terminals at the state’s horse tracks.

Governor Steve Beshear proposed the measure as a way to boost purses and lift Kentucky’s racing industry, whose leaders say can’t compete with tracks in other states that offer expanded gambling.

The slots bill passed the Democratic-led House by a 52-45 vote last week, but Senate President David Williams said it had little support in his chamber, which has a Republican majority. The committee vote to defeat the bill was 10-5.

An alternative bill proposed by Williams that would impose a tax on lottery sales and out-of-state wagering on Kentucky races to help horse tracks was approved by the Senate last week, but the measure apparently won’t be considered in the House.

Gov. Beshear issued the following statement following the slot bill’s defeat:

“We began this special session with an agenda focused on resolving a $1 billion shortfall in our budget and on creating and retaining jobs during a time of extreme economic hardship for our state. The limited gaming proposal was designed to help save a signature industry in peril – an industry that means 100,000 jobs and $4 billion in investment for our state. It is unfortunate that every voice on this critically important issue was not heard and every vote not counted. It is too early to determine what steps we will take in the future to try to protect our signature business, but I will continue to work on ideas and proposals that will ensure this vital industry’s continued health. We must now move forward. We still have an opportunity during this Special Session to come together to balance our budget and adopt legislation that will create thousands of jobs and stimulate hundreds of millions of dollars in investment for our Commonwealth. I urge my colleagues in the General Assembly to continue this critical work as expeditiously as possible.”

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