Guest Editorial - No Slot Machines (06-15-09)
The high stakes game over the future of Kentucky is shaping up and we know that with gambling, the house always wins. In this case, the house is Churchill Downs, and they claim they are in crisis.
This is a bluff. Churchill Downs Incorporated posted an incredible 81 percent profit increase in 2008! While their show cards sport attractive horses, the card up the sleeve is Churchill's bottom line through slot machines.
Slot machines separate a gambler from his money more efficiently than horses. Slots don't require shoes, feed, saddles, jockeys, groomers, acres of land or those horse owners that Churchill has such a problem with lately. Churchill has shown the tell that horses are only a "necessary evil."
Churchill was ruthless in their recent lawsuit against the horsemen dealing with the real prize of Internet gambling. Churchill won the suit and decreased purses by 20 percent.
Higher purses in other states are drawing owners, but the Senate has a plan to increase purses with a 10 percent surcharge on lottery tickets, all without the governor's 400 percent increase in gambling.
Because of Churchill's lobbying, Beshear refuses to consider the plan, because this issue is not really about horses and purses, but about slot machines and greed. Some would say greed is good business, but when you have to pursue greed on the backs of citizens and subvert the constitution to do it, that is bad public policy.
The legislators should call this bluff and urge the governor to pursue the alternative plan to help the horse industry without slot machines.
I'm David Edmunds, and that's my...Point of View.