03/19/2002 12:00AM

Kentucky slots bill moves to House

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A Kentucky legislative committee approved a bill that would legalize slot-type machines at state racetracks after attaching six amendments to the legislation on Monday. The bill is now headed to the floor of the House, perhaps as early as Thursday.

The possibility that the bill will pass still appears dim, racing industry officials said Tuesday. Backers of the legislation have said that they will not introduce the bill for a full vote unless it has enough support to pass.

The amendments approved on Monday would put regulation of the gambling machines under the Kentucky Lottery Corp., instead of a separate gambling commission; earmark the state's profits to six entities, including teachers' salaries, school construction, and prescription drugs for low-income seniors; and create a program to help problem gamblers. The amendments would also prohibit tracks from selling slot machines, outlaw the use of credit or debit cards, and require regulators to comply with open meetings laws.

Supporters of the legislation said the amendments strengthened the bill's chances. But one opponent, Rep. Ron Crimm, a Republican of Louisville, complained in a quote in the Lexington Herald-Leader that the amendments represented a "hustle." "About two-thirds of the bill is new," Crimm said.