Representative Tom Burch Pushes for Slot Machines in Kentucky
On July 20th, 2008, following the failure of Democratic Governor Steve Beshear’s push for casinos, Representative Tom Burch is making a legislation for the 2009 General Assembly that would allow 18,000 slot machines in Kentucky. Burch, a Democrat from Louisville said that around six thousand slot machines would be divided at the 8 horse racing tracks, while the other slot machines would be available on the counties whose residents decided to approve them. Burch added that this bill would allow each county to offer slot machines but if only the county wants to do so.
The amount of slot machines at the racing tracks would be decided by the number of the racing days this year. Turfway Park, with one hundred ten racing days, would be allowed to offer 1,400 slot machines. Keeneland racing park on Lexington would be allowed to get 545 slot machines while Red Mile would be allowed to offer 740 slot machines. Burch’s proposal would not require any amendment to the constitution. Beshear had pushed to change the proposal to allow for full casino facilities but that proposal was rewritten in the House and stalled before getting the approval of the full chamber.
Representative Greg Stumbo, a Democrat from Prestonsburg commented that he was making a proposal that would allow slot machines at the racing tracks on a trial basis. Supporters of casinos like Beshear said that allowing expanded gambling, either just the slot machines or casinos, would produce millions of dollars for the state. Burch said that it would allow racing tracks to offer bigger purses and compete with other racing tracks out of the state. Critics said that slot machines are not the answer for additional state revenues.