Governor Steve Beshear doesn’t beat about the bush. In a Kentucky.com article, he stated “I don’t think it’s any secret that expanded gaming is one of the issues that I think should be addressed by the people of this state. And I am hopeful that we may be able to get a constitutional amendment passed in the upcoming session.”
Whether or not it happens will depend on several factors, including approval by Kentucky voters. Since Gov. Beshear has had his eye on expanding gambling in his state since his election in 2007, he’s well aware that its approval is more than just a roll of the dice. He just wants to allow Kentucky citizens the ability to decide for themselves.
In order to that, however, he needs the bill, which would be a constitutional amendment, to pass in the state Senate, something it has failed to do in the past.
Why the push for increased gambling in Kentucky?
Kentucky, known in several circles as the horse capital of the world, is finding it hard to stay on top of its casino-driven competition in neighboring states. Senator Damon Thayor, introduced Gov. Beshear’s propsed amendment, pleaded the case that the horse industry needed the support of its government, and of its people. The bill’s opponents took the hard line of protecting Kentucky’s families from the downside of increased gambling exposure.
An article on Kentucky.com provided that Kentuckians gamble an estimated $451 million each year in out-of-state casinos. Out of state, but not out of mind, as some representatives believe Kentucky is left with none of the tax benefits and all of the problems.
With the current plan to reform the state’s tax code on the table, expanding the gambling within the state may take a back seat. The next meeting for the tax task force is set for November 8th, and its recommendations are due a week later. If everything comes together by the January legislative session, Gov. Beshear would like to reintroduce the amendment.