Emotions Run High In Casino Debate

There was already speculation casino gambling would have a hard road in the state Senate.

On Friday, President David Williams tried to make a strong point. “All of you for casinos just stand up right now,” Williams asked of his fellow Senators. “There's one, two, three. That's a start, Governor; 3 out of 38. You've got a long way to go.”

With that Williams quickly left the room. But he returned to hear Senator Julian Carroll's fiery speech. He took issue with Williams’ straw vote when the House hasn’t taken up the issue yet, and many lawmakers haven’t even seen the legislation.

Carroll says he's undecided on the gambling issue. But he's upset over Kentuckians gambling in other states.

“Because you can't sit here with your eyes closed and deny that our residents in Kentucky are spending their dollars in other states,” said Carroll, D-Frankfort.

Many lawmakers acknowledge there is a serious revenue problem in the state, but the jury is still out on how to fix it.

“I’m ready to raise the cigarette tax,” said Carroll.

“If we enforce the statutes we've already passed, we could solve a lot of problems,” said Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville.

Even some House leaders say the Governor's bill needs some tweaking. And, Williams thinks gaming's current support is fading.

“Because casinos are bad public policy. I think Greg Stumbo stated it best today when he said he didn't want one in Floyd County because it will do damage,” said Williams, R-Burkesville.

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