I applaud Tim Kelly’s May 15 op-ed, “If it looks, walks, quacks and pays like a casino ...”.
Under current Kentucky law, pari-mutuel wagering on current or historical horse races is lawful, but gambling on slot machines is not.
When a gambler bets money in a slot machine, the outcome has nothing to do with past, present or future horse races.
Kentucky’s horse industry (both Thoroughbred and harness racing) has long sought to get “racinos” legalized, to generate large new revenue streams. Several times in recent years, the legislature has declined to approve the submission to the voters of a constitutional amendment that would permit casino gambling.
Part of the disagreement concerns whether the tax revenues generated should be applied only to the horse industry, or whether they should be spent on broader public purposes, such as education or the state’s woefully underfunded pension plans. Such revenues might also be used to make up for Congress’ proposed reductions in the school lunch program.
Once it became clear that the legislature might divert the tax revenues, the horse industry changed its position about the proposed constitutional amendment.
The Red Mile, Ellis Park and Kentucky Downs are now operating casino-style electronic slot machines.