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By Ron Perry
Editor’s note: Ron Perry is a Lebanon resident. What follows is his proposal for using casino gaming revenue to support the Kentucky’s horse industry.
Under this proposal, profits from expanded gaming would be divided between casinos, the Kentucky United Horse Association and programs to aid the poor and disabled.
The casinos would receive 50 percent of the profits. KUHA would receive 35-40 percent of the profits, and programs for the poor and disabled would receive 10-15 percent of the profits.
While it would be acceptable for the profits to remain in the United States, keeping them in Kentucky would be preferable.
Casino companies would bid on the businesses through the Governor’s Office.
The revenue allocated for programs to help the poor and disabled would be controlled by a board consisting of two state representatives, two state senators, and one person from each of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife’s nine law enforcement districts. The district representatives cannot by employed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, state government or the federal government.
The KUHA would be managed by two state representatives, two state senators, and two representatives of the Governor’s Office, and all registered horse associations in Kentucky would have a vote with the KUHA.
The KUHA funds would be used toward shows, training and race tracks to be built on land owned by the KUHA. Races for young thoroughbreds, Arabians, quarter horses, mules, etc. could be held on these properties, along with events for show/riding horses (quarter horses, Tennessee walking horses, draft horses, etc.). Harness racing could also be held at these tracks.
The KUHA grounds would including buildings to train and board horses along with entertainment centers. Race tracks would have slot gambling, but not full casino gaming.
The first KUHA building should be built in Marion County (preferably in the Lebanon area). After this facility is open and operating efficiently, the next buildings can be constructed in the following area:
- Paducah area
- Mayfield-Hickman-Murray area
- Sturgis-Henderson area
- Owensboro-Central City area
- Hopkinsville-Russellville area
- Albany-Burkesville-Montecello area
- London-Middleboro-Pineville area
- Augusta-Falmouth-Maysville area
- Vanceburg-South Shore area
- Ashland-Louisa area
- Paintsville-Prestonsburg area
- Elkhorn City-McRoberts-Williamson area
After these venues are established, the KUHA can set aside a portion of money to put into land to teach kids how to farm and raise vegetables.
Under this proposal, the casino corporation would receive a discount on taxes. The casino companies could partner with farmers or loan money to farmers in partnership with programs to help low-income and disabled individuals to raise garden foods.
The KUHA would maintain control and rent the land for shows, racing and training. The KUHA would buy land for riding and walking areas for horses.
That land may also be utilized in partnership with farmers for low-income individuals. Half of the food raised on the land would go to the person raising it, and half would go to the poor.
The land could also be used to show people how to grow feed or grasses (native warm season grass, for example) or new types of products for the farm.
Personally, I would like to see the money distributed to benefit poor people (doctor and dental visits, clothing, etc.). The money could be distributed through 4-H or FFA for animals. For example, a horse colt owner could give a colt to kids to raise and train, with assistance from the owner and his or her assistants. In the future, the kids could raise colts and foals to be given to the next generation.
KUHA could purchase land to raise fish in partnership with farmers. As with the land, half of the fish would go to the farmer, and the other half could be used to help the poor.
KUHA funds could be used to help the needy pay bills, cover educational expenses for police, firefighters, EMS, doctors, veterinarians, nurses and others, provided they agree to work in Kentucky for a certain amount of time after they complete their degrees.
The state’s existing race tracks as well as the new training and racing facilities would have slot gambling, and the tracks would keep those profits (after taxes) to help cover the payout on horse races and to maintain the tracks. Some of those funds would also be used to teach young people to work with animals and manage agricultural facilities.
Full casino gambling would be allowed on the river areas bordering Kentucky and water ways around Kentucky. Three of these areas would be on the Tennessee border and two or three would be on the Virginia and West Virginia borders.
Any area with casino gaming near existing tracks or new tracks would partner with those tracks and donate 11 percent of their profits from slot gaming to the tracks. If not, only the tracks would be allowed to have slot gaming.
Lastly, 1 percent of the KUHA and casino gaming profits would be put into an account to be shared among all counties as long as a majority of voters approve of gaming. A larger majority, 58 percent, must approve of gaming for that county to be a possible casino location.
Editor’s note: To share your views on this proposal with your state legislators, call 1-800-372-7181.