Shunning Slots - A Losing Bet (04-02-09)
I'm not much of a gambler. You might find me at Churchill Downs a couple days a year but even then I'm doing a lot more socializing than betting.
However, the fact that I'm not a big bettor doesn't mean I think we should let one of Kentucky's signature industries just wither and die. But that's exactly what our lawmakers are doing by ending yet another legislative session without any move toward legalizing slot or video poker machines at the state's race tracks.
The hypocrisy on this subject is staggering. We already have legal gambling at Kentucky tracks. And if we restricted slots to those existing tracks, there'd be no new gambling anywhere it doesn't already exist.
Without the added revenue slots and video poker would bring, our race purses have shrunk to the point where owners and trainers are flocking to much greener pastures in neighboring states. Ellis Park has already announced its closing. And Turfway is teetering on the brink as well.
Meanwhile, our elected officials -- who lack the political courage to support a slots bill -- just fiddle while Rome burns.
I think a special legislative session is called for - with this issue at the top of the agenda. Because if something isn't done soon, Kentucky's days as the thoroughbred capital of the world could well become just a fond memory - and for no good reason.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.