Issue 83
April 9 - 15, 2002
Volume 3
page 2

Kentucky Slot Machine Bill Dies

/ASSOCIATED PRESS/ - FRANKFORT, KY - A proposal to open slot machine casinos at Kentucky horse tracks has quietly died, but proponents vow to try again.

The legislation — the first time the idea of expanding gambling at race tracks was offered in a proposed bill — was sent April 1 to sit in committee for the rest of the legislative session.

"I think it's probably at the funeral home right now," said House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark, D-Louisville, one of the prime supporters of expanded gambling.

However, David Switzer, director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, said there's no death knell.

"We'll be back. There's no question about that. There is still a possibility of a special session and of course, we have 2003," Switzer said on April 2, the last day of the regular session.

The bill would allow eight currently licensed race tracks to open slot machine casinos. A second version would have placed the casinos under the supervision of the Kentucky Lottery Corp.

Though horse industry interests supported the proposal, which was introduced in February, opponents criticized the secrecy that surrounded negotiations creating the bill. They also pointed out a new gambling control board would be exempt from many open records and meetings laws.

Race tracks in Kentucky, including fabled Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, have reported fewer patrons, less betting and a scarcity of horses to fill race cards.

Proponents of the legislation argued that the problem was competition from the

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Ohio River casinos, created by the neighboring states of Indiana and Illinois.

Under the proposal, more than half the proceeds of track casinos were to go to the tracks, with the state getting an initial 28 percent. The horse industry was to get nearly 13 percent.

Opponents of expanded gambling, mostly a coalition of religious groups, scoff at cries of poverty from horse racing. They point to the 2001 record earnings from Churchill Downs' parent company.

New York Casino Law Still Faces Hurdles - NEW YORK - A new law to expand legal gambling in New York still faces several hurdles. Legislation, hurriedly passed in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, permits up to six new casinos and allows placement of new video gaming machines at horse tracks. Joe Dalton, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, and anti-gambling groups have filed a lawsuit to block the expansion, charging it violates the state constitution. Dalton argues that video machines at horse tracks, expecting to bring in $95 million a year, will actually take money out of the economy through gambling losses. Park Place Entertainment, the world’s largest gaming company, has signed a deal with the St. Regis Mohawk tribe to develop and manage a $500-million casino resort. A spokeswoman for the tribe believes the casino will provide an important source of funds both to the state and her tribe: “Casino development in New York state will ensure that the jobs and the profits remain in New York.” Federal officials must still approve tribal land-use agreements, including the Park Place plan, and negotiate revenue issues between tribe and state.

Online Casinos Will Be Legal in Britain - LONDON - Under the sweeping gambling reforms proposed by the Culture, Media and Sport Department in the UK, British-based operators will be permitted to apply for licenses to legally operate online gambling sites in the UK. The government concludes that “the prohibition of on-line gambling by British consumers would be an entirely unrealistic objective” and hopes its reforms will convince UK gambling companies to go online and compete with foreign gaming sites that have been targeting the UK. Online gamblers will be urged to play on sites that have been authorized and tagged with a so-called “kitemark” or similar mechanism authenticated by the UK Gambling Commission. The Commission will monitor the operations of gambling sites, and operators will have to employ safeguards to effectively prevent children from using their online gambling sites.

Blink 182, Green Day, &
Jimmy Eats World

Blink 182, Green Day, and Jimmy Eats World will perform at the Grand Garden Arena at MGM Grand Hotel Casino on April 23.

$35.00 (General admission)

7:30 p.m.

Reservations Recommended

For more information please call: (800) 646-7787
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