Kentucky Horse Racing Industry ‘Dying’
Governer Steve Beshear has described the Kentucky horse industry as ‘dying’. His solution is legalizing slot machine at racetracks during its special season which would enable the horse racing tracks to stay open.
Addressing the General Assembly Beshear said, “Today I am calling on legislators and the people of Kentucky to save the horse industry before it’s too late.”
However Beshear’s harsh words have met criticism with others pointing out that although attendance is down, revenues are up due to slots at Fair Grounds in Louisiana. Kentucky also remains the nation’s best producer of thoroughbred horses with a 31% market share and Kentucky-bred horses earning more than $436 million at racetracks last year.
President and racing manager of Bluegrass farm Winstar said, “We’re hanging in there OK. We factored it to be down a bit this year because of the economy, but we had a good year on the racing front.”
This contradicts Beshear’s reports of the future of horse racing which warned last December that “inevitabily, with 100% accuracy, Kentucky is on the verge on being overtaken.”
Governer Dan Mongiardo has also joined in; saying that the General Assembly has failed the state by not addressing the issue of gambling and the pressures on Kentucky’s horse industry earlier.
He said, “I believe it’s shameful and unfortunate that this issue has been allowed to fester for nearly a decade without any action and it’s come down to this. But here we are, we can either act now or lose one of our signature industries and 100,000 jobs.”
He also stressed that the wider implications of losing the horse industry in Kentucky could be dire, effecting “every Kentuckian across the state”