A bill that supports historic gaming slots has been passed by a Senate committee and is now heading to the full Senate, where it is expected to face strong opposition.
This Thursday Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill that would allow historic horse racing betting machines to remain intact statewide.
The bill which was approved by the Senate Licensing and Professions Committee is now heading to the Senate, where it will face wider opposition from lawmakers.
However, there are friends of the measure too, with Senate Speaker Robert Stivers and Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer arguing for the bill.
The question remains whether Strivers and Thayer can actually influence the outcome of an upper house vote, as Republicans will most likely support opposition to the bill and possibly counter it.
Anti-gambling sentiment has been strong among many residents and parliamentarians. Releasing the committee was an easy task, said Martin Cothran of the Family Foundation, but going through the Senate would be the real test of character.
Cothran has no desire to see the bill pass the Senate floor, and his organization advocates against gambling and, in particular, slots, which the Foundation says are associated with the highest incidence. of gambling addiction.
A previous Kentucky Supreme Court ruling effectively banned slot machines that allow you to bet on historic horse races because they are not equivalent bets. However, their immediate withdrawal would have been a blow to the economy of the besieged state and, in light of Covid-19, an extension has been authorized.
An extension that lawmakers now want to use as an opportunity to define these gaming terminals as part of betting already authorized on historic horse races in the state.
Of course, not everyone agrees that slots are a form of pari-mutuel, and here is the divide between political and societal groups.
In a way, historic racing cars look like slot machine games. The premise of the product is simple. You will place a bet using a mechanism similar to a slot machine in a previous race. Then a video of an animated race appears and you can watch how the game progresses, setting a winning or losing outcome.
Business is a lifeline for many businesses, but, as Cothran suggests, it can be a source of economic hardship for vulnerable people. According to the state, these slots generated up to $ 2 billion in total bets in the past fiscal year.
Much of the net income tax paid has been used to support the horse racing industry. Even now, the industry is in peril and struggles to survive. Kentucky needs to do more to ensure the state remains in charge of the horse breeding and horse racing industry, as it is already world-famous for the Kentucky Derby.
Horse racing communities will create jobs, say industry experts, who say without gaming terminals things can go downhill very quickly for the industry. Meanwhile, the Foundation argued that even if the bill passed, a constitutional amendment would be needed to make it fully legal.
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