Local News Politics

By Tony McVeigh, Kentucky Public Radio

More than 100 people showed up at The Red Mile in Lexington Wednesday for a public hearing on Instant Racing. Fourteen people spoke. Eleven were Instant Racing supporters, but three members of the Family Foundation spoke against electronic wagering on previously run horse races.

The foundation’s Martin Cothran says the group is not trying to kill Kentucky’s horse industry, which says it needs new revenue streams to survive.

“But we do not support helping the horse industry by hurting it. And that’s what we do when we try to help the horse industry by bringing in mechanized gambling. It’s a deal with the devil. We know from the experience of other states that mechanized gambling eventually drives out horses. It may take some time, but the devil will eventually get his due,” he said.

In July, regulations allowing Instant Racing at horse tracks were unanimously approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. During the public hearing process, the legality of the new form of gambling is also being tested in the courts.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."