02/26/2002 12:00AM

Kentucky slot backers see bonanza


Legislation to leaglize gambling machines at Kentucky racetracks was introduced Tuesday in the state's House of Representatives in Frankfort.

The legislation, which would legalize slot-like machines at eight locations in Kentucky, is being backed by a broad coalition of racing interests in the state but is opposed by an equally broad collection of anti-gambling interests.

Supporters claim that the state will receive $351 million each year from the machines, 35.05 percent of an estimated $1 billion in yearly revenue. Tracks would keep 52.25 percent, and horsemen would get 12.7 percent.

Racetrack and horsemen's representatives distributed materials at a press conference in Louisville that showed average daily purses at most racetracks would double with revenues from gambling machines. They estimated that Keeneland's average daily distribution would rise from $655,000 a day to $1.15 million; at Churchill, purses would go from $416,000 to $764,000 a day; and at Turfway, purses would go from $172,000 to $464,000.