02/26/2004 1:00AM

Tracks seek to alter Ky. casino bill


A plan by a Kentucky state legislator to introduce a bill calling for a mixture of casinos at racetracks and freestanding sites has sent racing officials hustling to offer alternatives to the legislation.

The bill, which would authorize a constitutional amendment allowing eight casinos in the state - five run by racetracks - is being sponsored by Rep. Larry Clark, a Democrat from Louisville.

The tracks were negotiating with Clark's staff to modify the bill so that the freestanding casinos would be dropped, according to racing officials.

Clark's bill would put the issue before voters in a November referendum.

Supporters of slots at tracks have said that an amendment that calls for slot at sites other than racetracks will be far less palatable to voters than limiting casinos to the tracks. Kentucky tracks fear that if an amendment is soundly defeated, legislators will be far less eager to deal with expanded gambling issues in the future.