LOUISVILLE - Churchill Downs damaged its efforts to legalize casino-style gambling in Kentucky by contributing to a political action committee working to elect conservatives to the state's legislature, the Kentucky House's top leader said.
The Louisville racing company won't confirm the purpose of its contribution to the Next Generation Leadership Fund Inc., but didn't dispute that the money would be used to try to oust Democrats from the House, The Courier-Journal reported.
Republicans are making a strong push in this year's election to take control of the Kentucky House for the first time in 90 years.
"This is going to make it extremely difficult, if not virtually impossible, for us to move forward with this issue," said House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat who has long been a supporter of expanded gambling.
Stumbo said it doesn't make sense for Churchill to target Democrats who have been most supportive of its efforts to build a casino in Louisville.
"The only bill that's been passed in the General Assembly concerning expanded gambling is the bill that I passed in ... 2009," Stumbo said. "We did that with very little Republican support as I recall."
Only eight Republicans were among the 52 votes in favor of the measure, which would have allowed for video lottery terminals similar to slot machines at race tracks.