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Kentucky Tracks Plead For Video Lottery Terminals

Friday, 22nd May 2009

We-Have-Seen-The-Future Update 1: Kentucky racetrack operators held a crisis press conference in the paddock at Churchill Downs & declared "the state's horseracing & breeding industries have reached a critical juncture & without legislative assistance in the form of on-track gaming, the damage could be irreparable," reported bloodhorse.com. Churchill has received permission to drop Wednesday racing "because of short fields" & racing interests "argue revenue from racetrack video lottery terminals would not only reverse that situation, but place Kentucky ahead of other states that have bolstered their industries at Kentucky's expense". The press conference came as state officials "await budget projections that are expected to be dire: in late May, a report will show whether or not Kentucky faces a US$1 billion budget deficit for the next 2 years". Governor Steve Beshear said a special legislative session "hinges on the results of the revenue report" & racing industry officials "believe racetrack gaming would be part of the discussion during a special session". Keeneland president Nick Nicholson commented: "We're hoping to crystallise this issue. This industry is unified as perhaps it has never been & we are in serious jeopardy if no action takes place & we lose our racing circuit & leading breeding industry. We did not want anybody to be surprised." Along with the reduced Churchill meet, at Kentucky's other tracks: Ellis Park has cut its upcoming summer meet in half; & Turfway Park is planning for the worst, a curtailed September meet that will mark its 50th anniversary.

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