Director, Commonwealth Policy Center



Subject: Expanded Gambling in Christian and Knox Counties

Date: September 15, 2017

Contact: Richard Nelson, Executive Director, 270-719-1640


On Friday, September 15, 2017, leaders from Churchill Downs, Keeneland and other related horse racing organizations announced their plans to expand gambling into eastern and western Kentucky.  While we appreciate their desire to strengthen the state’s economy, we strongly disagree with their method.


Richard Nelson, Executive Director of the Commonwealth Policy Center says, “This announcement is premature due to the pending legal case concerning instant racing in Franklin Circuit Court and the fact that the 2016 General Assembly rejected a bill to establish the regulatory framework for instant racing in Kentucky.”


Nelson believes this type of gambling is very different than live horse racing because it’s available every day, it’s more addictive, and casino-style gambling acts as a drain on local economies.  


Alan Mallach, a former Senior Fellow at the Center for Community Progress in New York, told the Lexington Herald-Leader, “Casino gambling does not create a single new dollar. Every dollar dropped into a slot machine is a dollar not spent on something else. It’s not like you've got an auto plant and you're building cars to be shipped and sold around the world.”


In a 2012 article in U.S. News and World Reports, John Warren Kindt, Professor of Business and Legal Policy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign says, “Sports gambling is also known as the "gateway drug" to gambling addiction.”


“This may seem like a good idea to casino interests,” Nelson said. “But the best version of Kentucky doesn’t put our families at risk.”