Another exciting election is behind us, and now is the time to begin pushing politicians who are coming into office or who have retained their jobs to work in support of the Commonwealth and its signature industry.
The governor, for one, needs to get the expanded gaming legislation through the legislature and be done with it. Every day is a day that more money and more jobs have shipped out of state.
The governor has the political capital after a strong reelection victory to build a coalition that can vote for expanded gaming that will be beneficial to the Commonwealth, while at the same time controlled sufficiently not to damage racing and breeding.
The profits that racetracks might earn from expanded gaming need to be considered carefully when dividing the pie between the state and the source of revenues. One thing is sure, though: slots and table games are MUCH more profitable than horse racing!!
At the most basic level, consider the number of times one could pull the handle of a one-armed bandit in an hour (say 60 to 180), compared to the times that one could bet a horse race at Churchill Downs in an hour (twice).
So, if the reason to support expanded gaming is to bolster horse racing in Kentucky (in comparison to other states already improving their racing and breeding programs with money from slots, etc.), then Kentucky has to tie the slots/expanded gaming to the racetracks.
Otherwise, the casinos will put the racetracks out of business, and the horse racing, breeding, shipping, vetting, etc. will go away. And the hundreds of millions of dollars that horse racing and breeding pumps through the Kentucky economy every year will go away too.
That is not something that might happen. It already has happened to a shocking degree in the range of 20 percent to 35 percent in particular sectors of racing or breeding.
Without some corrective, this situation will get worse and will further damage the sport and its economic underpinning.
Then try balancing the Commonwealth’s budget!