Kentucky Legislature Bets on Gaming

Chances are getting better

This could be a historic day in Kentucky.

In Frankfort, lawmakers introduced a bill that would allow casino gambling in the state. It would allow seven casinos, five of which would be at Horse tracks. It has the momentum of support from both sides, and was introduced by Sen. Damon Thayer, the Georgetown Republican. Gov. Beshear said, “We’re here today to announce the filing of legislation to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that lets the people decide once and for all,” Beshear said.

The usual suspects piped up in opposition. The Herald-Leader quoted The Family Foundation, the longtime nemesis of progress in Kentucky, saying it was a mistake for lawmakers to claim the amendment, which would likely be voted on this fall, is an opportunity for voters to decide the issue, finally. But a public vote is exactly what it will take to open casinos in Kentucky. And polls show that 80 percent of Kentuckians favor casinos.

The law would not allow freestanding casino to open within 60 miles of a racetrack, and that money would be directed to support the Horse industry. But other interests, including support for  job creation, education, human services, health care, veterans programs, local governments and public safety, will be seeking money from the new revenue.

The legislation goes to a Senate committee, where previous bills have gone to die. But this time, it enjoys wide support from both parties.