Proposal to legalize gaming at Arizona dog, horse tracks on the table

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PHOENIX -- The Legislature could once again consider a measure to legalize gaming casinos inside Arizona's dog and horse tracks.

Freshman Republican Rep. John Fillmore of Apache Junction is behind the latest proposal, but the bill has not been assigned to a committee yet.

Lobbyists say gaming at racetracks could generate up to $375 million a year. With with the state facing a massive budget shortfall, some find the idea intriguing.

Right now, Native American tribes are the sole operators of casinos in Arizona, and they would like to keep it that way.

The 22 tribal casinos in Arizona pay the state between 1 and 8 percent of their gross revenue from certain types of gambling, including slot machines and card games.

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell said the bill could jeopardize the money Arizona receives from the tribes, which he says is more than the so-called "racinos" would make.

in October, state officials said they saw an increase in revenue from tribal casinos for the first time in nearly three years. The Gaming Department reported that tribes' payments will approach $22 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

As Javier Soto reports, previous efforts to legalize games at dog and horse tracks "racinos" have have failed.