Bigger Problems In Kentucky

by Ed Meyer

posted on June 1, 2009 in General Discussion | 3 Comments >>

We all have been reading about the racing problems in Kentucky. Things look pretty dark right now. It is hard to think that there may be any closing of a track in this state.

I heard one of the most convincing arguments about racing in Kentucky. It was stated as “they don’t need a bailout, but just an opportunity to have the tools to survive.” This was a blunt way of saying that if they were given VLT’s (Video Lottery Terminals), the tracks would be able to keep themselves afloat and generate money for the state coffers. This seemed like a no-brainer. For the first time during this economic downturn, we have a business that is not asking for money, and promises to turn over a hefty sum of cash earmarked for education, health care, and general funds.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky may still be facing tough odds. Even though polls in the state show that people are in favor of gaming, the opponents seem to be reading their arsenals. There is a tough area in KY that is known as the “Bible-Belt.” They feel that expanding gambling could damage the state and what heritage it has carried on for generations.

At the end of the day, many people stand to lose their jobs. Many farms will go under. Breeders’ who have great investments in keeping their stock alive, will go under. The blue-collar folks who take care of the horses day-to-day will be out of work. There are cutbacks at tracks happening as we speak. The dates at tracks are being cut. It is coming. This is not a bluff. I see it, and I work in the industry. I have spoke with major writers of every paper and magazine in the country. They all agree. It is coming, and we may live to see racing decline and die.

Give the state the tools they need to survive. Can they afford to lose all of these jobs and add to the unemployment rate? I wish them the best. It looks good right now, but it is still far away from a sure thing.