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KEEP keeps up fight for expanded gambling

by Joe Arnold


Posted on February 25, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Again calling for "quick action from the Legislature," the The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) which is lobbying hard for expanded gaming, has launched a new website to show that the horse industry is more than just "millionaire hobbyists."

 "Our competitor states will succeed in stealing our signature industry away. And when they do, we will either lose our jobs, or be forced to move to another state."

In an interview aired Wednesday night on WHAS11 News, Kentucky Senate President David Williams (R-Burkesville) said that eventually, Kentuckians will probably vote on a constitutional amendment concerning expanded gambling.   KEEP and Governor Steve Beshear argue that a constitutional amendment would take too long and is unnecessary, citing opinions by two Attornies General. 

The raw videof the one-on-one interview is now posted on WHAS11.com.

"We need to work through this, and people of this state will ultimately probably have to decide this issue.  But the great thing about that would be that there would have to be full disclosure of every aspect and scrutiny by the public of every aspect if its submitted to the people for a vote.

"I think there probably are the votes in the general assembly now to put it on the ballot if the racetracks would quit trying to push their incessant attempt to get a deal that's too good.  It was disgraceful the amount that they were going to pay for these gambling licenses, totally undervalued.  Then they were going to advance some of the money back ,and after five years, the license fees were going to be over.  I mean, that's ludicrous.

"They were going to buy a monopoly and buy it at the ballot box and so that's what your viewers should be concerned about and it's easy to make an argument 'Well, we already have gambling and we already have this or that.'  Well, do we want more?

"How much is too much?  How much can a community decide, 'that is too much?'

"So, I would hope folks would take a look at that."

News release with link to new website:

KEEP launches “We Are Kentucky” Web site
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) launched today a new Web site that will give Kentuckians an opportunity to meet the men and women of the horse industry, and hear their stories in their own words. The site is called “We Are Kentucky” and can be found at www.weareky.com.

For some time, Kentucky’s horse industry has pointed out the economic impact it has on the state of Kentucky, and that tens of thousands of Kentuckians depend on the horse industry to make their living. An estimated 100,000 men and women rely on a healthy horse economy to support their families, send their kids to school and be active participants in their local communities. They drive horse trailers, grow hay, muck stalls, sell equine insurance, build and paint barns and fences. They are vets, farriers, small business owners, tack suppliers, landscapers. They work hard and make a significant financial contribution to our state.

It is beyond dispute that Kentucky’s horse industry is in serious jeopardy. As our competitor states have lured away Kentucky’s prized racing and breeding stock with purses and breeders incentives enhanced by expanded gaming, they have also lured away Kentucky jobs. Every horse that resides in Kentucky is a job creator, and when we lose horses to other states, jobs go with them.

As we work with the legislature to finally put our industry on a level competitive playing field, the new Web site should offer some insights into the people who help make our industry great, and who we are fighting so hard to protect. It will be frequently updated with new stories, and the thousands of Kentuckians who are connected to our horse industry are invited to visit www.weareky.com to share their story.

About KEEP
The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) is an organization charged with increasing awareness of the benefits of Kentucky’s horse economy and promoting jobs and economic opportunities for Kentuckians through the Commonwealth’s world-class horse industry.