OKLAHOMA CITY Legislation that could infuse millions of dollars into the states ailing horse racing industry and millions more into the state budget passed the Oklahoma State Senate Thursday afternoon by a 29 vote.
Senate Bill 3 now moves to the House of Representatives where it could be considered Friday, the last day of the First Session of the 9th Oklahoma Legislature.
SB 3 would allow a limited electronic instant ticket and electronic amusement games at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, Fair Meadows in Tulsa, Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw and Will Rogers Downs in Claremore. A portion of the proceeds from the machines at the racetracks will be earmarked for much needed increases in horse racing purses.
What the State Senate did today was vote to keep our states valuable horse racing industry breathing. Without additional money for purses, the industry in Oklahoma will dry up and blow away and so will many of its ,000 jobs, said Senate President Pro Tempore Cal Hobson.
The Lexington Democrat, who is the author of the measure, said the bill will also provide revenue for the state from a tax on the proceeds from the machines at the horse racing facilities. Additional new revenue will be generated from Native American tribal casinos through a gaming compact with the tribes.
Also, Native American tribes that compact with the state in the manner prescribed in a model compact included in the bill will be allowed to use the same electronic instant ticket and electronic amusement gaming machines allowed at the horse racing tracks.
The bill will also give the state, through the compact, regulatory authority over the tribal casinos.
Hobson said opponents are wrong when they claim that it will allow unlimited expansion of gaming in Oklahoma beyond the electronic instant ticket and electronic amusement games specifically mentioned in the bill.
I do not believe that Senate Bill 3 will authorize a significant expansion of gaming in our state. It simply adds four new locations to the more than 0 electronic gaming facilities already located here.
It is my belief that it will not open the door to Las Vegas style gambling or games like craps, roulette and keno.
Hobson said the measure can be a win, win, win proposition.
It will save our horse industry, give the state regulatory authority over tribal casinos and provide much needed revenue, most of which is earmarked for education.