The time has come for the Kentucky General Assembly to let the people decide the fate of slot machines and “historical wagering” in the commonwealth as the state’s founding fathers intended.
As many of you know, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled late last year that most “historical wagering” machines used at race tracks in the state didn’t meet the state’s parimutuel wagering guidelines and are therefore illegal.
The “historical wagering” machines are for all intents and purposes slot machines, which Kentucky law hasn’t allowed. Those in favor of these machines know they are slot machines. Those opposed to these machines know they are slot machines.
The reason this measure is of interest to local residents is because of the proposed race track that Keeneland plans to build off the Corbin bypass, which would have several of these “historical wagering” machines.
This measure is also of interest to local residents because Keeneland is also proposing to build an off-track site in Williamsburg that would also feature numerous “historical wagering” machines in addition to a hotel and some other amenities.
For those that don’t know, “historical wagering” was implemented as an end around the law several years ago when supporters of it couldn’t get a constitutional amendment onto the ballot to allow casino gambling.
The fate of these proposed facilities and the current “historical wagering” at the racing facilities in the state has been kind of in limbo as the Kentucky Supreme Court first made its ruling last year about “historical wagering,” and then refused to consider that ruling. This resulted in the recent passage of Senate Bill 120, which tweaks the state’s definition of parimutuel betting to allow “historical wagering.”
Anybody want to make a bet that Senate Bill 120 will mean no more legal challenges to “historical wagering” in Kentucky? Neither would I.
Our state’s founding fathers set up Kentucky’s system of government so the people could vote on whether to change the state’s constitution, such as allowing the state lottery back in the 1980s, and allowing annual sessions of the General Assembly, which used to only meet every other year. (FYI-I voted against the annual session amendment because I thought the state legislature could do less damage only meeting every other year.)
Let’s quit doing the silly sidestepping of the issue about slot machines, i.e., “historical wagering,” and put the question directly to the people on whether they want to allow it at state race tracks and related facilities. Let’s decide the issue once and for all.
My money says a constitutional amendment allowing slot machines would pass overwhelmingly.