11/16/2005 1:00AM

KEEP drafts casino plan


The Kentucky Equine Education Project, a horseracing advocacy group, plans to ask the state legislature to approve a casino-gambling plan that would give the racing industry 64 percent of the revenue from legalized casinos at state racetracks, or nearly $800 million a year.

The revenue splits for the racing industry were provided by Jim Navolio, KEEP's executive director, on Wednesday, one day after KEEP released a statement saying its plan for casinos at all licensed racetracks would give the state a 35 percent share of the revenue.

Navolio said that KEEP's plan would give racetracks 49.35 percent of the total revenues, and that Thoroughbred and Standardbred horsemen would receive 12 percent. Breeder award programs for Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds would get 2 percent, and the remaining 1 percent would go to non-racing breeds in the state.

KEEP is using an estimate from the state's Legislative Research Commission, which says casinos would generate $1.25 billion in annual revenue. Under that estimate, racetracks would receive about $617 million a year in revenue, and horsemen's purses would receive $150 million - or double the amount that is currently distributed in Thoroughbred and Standardbred purses in the state.

Navolio said that KEEP's board is holding its final meeting on drafting the proposed legislation on Friday, with the goal of finishing the bill by Dec. 1.