Could casino-style slot machines solve the state of Kentucky’s billion dollars budget deficit problems? On June 18th, 2009, Kentucky legislators debated the controversial gaming plan in a special session. In the state of Kentucky, horse racing is more than just a hobby. They are considered as one of Kentucky’s economic engines. For local horse racing fans, the Kentucky Downs Horse Racing track in Franklin is a widely known destination.
Kentucky Downs visitor Doug Shank said that he usually enjoys a stake race especially a $500,000 race. Shank can place wagers on horse races across the US at the Kentucky Downs. If Kentucky’s Governor Steve Beshear had his way, Doug would also be able to enjoy slot machines at the horse racing or any of the state’s horse racing tracks. Kentucky Downs owner Ray Reid said that the horse racing capital of the world will lose its glamour if something is not done as soon as possible.
Reid stated that Kentucky’s neighboring states that already offer casino style gaming in horse racing establishments are taking the state’s business but the horse racing industry will not be the only beneficiary in the slots plan. Reid said that if they get slot machines, the legislation will have a part of that being given to the state, which Kentucky can use for public education, health and other important things. In Downtown Franklin, at least one restaurant owner thinks the economic effects are well worth it despite the criticisms that might follow.
Restaurant owner John Fleming said that the slots will bring badly needed revenue to the county. For now, those for or against the slots plan will have to wait and see what will the state’s legislator decide. The slot machine debate has been brewing for fifteen years in the state of Kentucky. This year, slot machine supporters are feeling much more confident that the proposal will succeed.