Committee kills Kentucky slots bill

LEXINGTON, Ky. - A Senate committee of the Kentucky legislature killed a bill on Monday night that would have legalized slot machines at seven racetracks in the state. The vote effectively torpedoed the racing industry's aggressive effort to get the legislation passed during a brief special session of the legislature.

The Senate Budget Committee voted 10-5 against sending the bill to the floor of the Senate. The vote was largely along party lines. In general, state Democrats have supported the effort while Republicans have been opposed.

The legislation passed the Democrat-led House on Friday, the first time that any slots-at-tracks legislation had made it past a floor vote. Supporters of the legislation have contended that Kentucky's tracks need slot machines to compete against tracks in neighboring states that use subsidies from slot machines for their operations and purses.

After the vote, Ron Geary, the owner of Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., said that he would close the track following its 2009 meet. At the beginning of the year, Ellis had asked to run 48 live racing days, but in April, the track went to the Kentucky racing commission to request that 25 live racing days be cut. Geary cited expected competition from horses in neighboring Indiana.