Turfway Park president in favor of video slots

By Joe Danneman - bio | email

FRANKFORT, KY (FOX19) - Kentucky horse tracks like Turfway Park in Florence say they are losing big business to states that allow slots at their tracks.

It's why Turfway Park's president, Bob Elliston, is driving to the state capitol every day this week trying to pass a bill that would allow video slots at Kentucky racetracks.

Elliston is knocking on office doors inside the state capitol.

"To try and work with our legislators and the governor's office to preserve our stature as the racing capital of the world," he says.

The Turfway Park president says a bill allowing video slots at Kentucky tracks is the only way his track will survive.

"Honestly, it's going to be a hard for us to operate as a race track," Elliston said.

Neighboring states use slots at their tracks to boost race purses. It means bigger crowds and better horses there.

But Elliston says there are fewer fans and fewer races at his park.

"We're not looking for a bailout. We are simply looking to compete on an even playing field with what's going on in Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York," he said.

Elliston says the bill would make Turfway an entertainment destination, adding 750 jobs.

He says he's optimistic and will bring a caravan of support from his track later this week.

"It would transform the business decision horsemen are making every single day in terms of investing their capital. They'd have the opportunity to run for incredible purses right here in Kentucky," he said.

Lawmakers who are against this bill say the race industry is exaggerating their situation and are proposing different ideas to boost race track purses without adding slots.

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