Beshear Says Gambling Plan Out Next Week

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Steve Beshear is planning to unveil gambling legislation by the end of next week, a proposal that he said could bring the state "several hundreds of millions" in new revenue over the next two years.

Some politicos saw the outcome of an eastern Kentucky election last Tuesday as a rebuke of expanded gambling. In that election, Beshear made casinos the issue and the party favored candidate was defeated in a two-to-one lDemocrat district that once belonged to Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo.

It is believed details of how expanded gaming will work are being fast tracked now to help cultivate support. The Republican Senate seat victory gives that party a 22 seat advantage. A vote to put the issue on the ballot will need 23 votes to pass.

Beshear is now selling expanded gaming as a quicker fix to the state's budget woes. Beshear says Casino license fees could be sold to bring in money to help offset a projected shortfall of nearly $900 million in the next budget cycle, Beshear told reporters Friday. The Democratic governor said he will propose a constitutional amendment that could lead to the legalization of casinos.

"Obviously, issues like this are controversial and much depends upon the details," Beshear said at an impromptu press conference outside his office. "People need to see it. They need to be able to digest it and talk about it and discuss it."

Beshear's support for legalizing casino gambling in Kentucky has been no secret. He campaigned against former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, a Republican, on a platform that included his call for a constitutional amendment allowing casinos.

Home of the Kentucky Derby, the Bluegrass state has long allowed gambling in various forms - at race tracks, bingo halls and through a state lottery. Casinos would be new, and are likely to be a polarizing issue in a Bible belt state where the Ten Commandments are posted in the Capitol Rotunda.

Recently, Beshear proposed an $18.5 billion two-year spending proposal that calls for significant cuts to state government agencies and public universities. Soaring costs in the state's Medicaid and prison systems are causing financial woes across state government.

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  • by Fact on Feb 13, 2008 at 05:20 AM
    Gambling is not a quick fix for anything. Once brought in, it will NEVER LEAVE! The reason is; once the government gets a source of revenue that is substantial (and I still don't believe it will bring in $500M), they rely on it FOREVER! Why do you think they just won't outlaw cigarettes? They ban people from smoking them just about everywhere except their own car and home, but won't ban the product. Why? Because of the revenue they generate. Same thing will happen with casinos no matter the "ills" it brings to KY. Cigarettes cause cancer and kill; gamblings causes bankruptcy, broken families, crime, etc. Yeah Governor, you definitely are looking out for us aren't you.
  • by concern on Feb 12, 2008 at 06:17 AM
    How will this bring money in, when families will go without food, clothes, ect, kids will be out of their homes, because of parents having a gambling problem, but I guess that doesn't matter with most people, as long as a dollar is brought in, it's all about the dollar not the state of peoples lives..
  • by Wow Location: RIchmond on Feb 11, 2008 at 11:31 AM
    Did you miss the parts of kys history that our leaders have always ignored the so called "common wealth" merely to line their own pockets? Casinos will at least create jobs and get us whats called tourist dollars. Also if you think the mafia is still super strong and rules vegas you must think teh sopranos is a documentary. MAfia is dying as loyalty is scarce. The new "mafia" is big business.
  • by jane Location: ky on Feb 10, 2008 at 07:08 AM
    Why do we want to invite crime into the bluegrass? Don't we have enough already? Has anyone been watching the history of Northern Ky on KET? Has anyone read Emily Craig's (state foresic pathologist) book? Did you see the case of the New York gangster found murdered in the Ohio river bank? Yes, we really did have Mafia gangsters here in KY, they left murdered bodies as evidence. Do we really want to go back to that? Make no mistake, casino gambling is a high tax on our very poorest and weakest citizens, with the casinos creaming off the top before any goes into state coffers. They aren't doing this out of any altruistic civic orientation; they'll do it to get as rich as possible themselves, as fast as possible and they don't care who they hurt while they do it. You aren't going to improve the prison system by bringing in more crime. You aren't going to improve the health of poor people making them homeless. Gambling students won't improve colleges. Gambling brings misery.
  • by diane Location: Mt. Sterling on Feb 9, 2008 at 05:28 PM
    This such a bunch of crap. How obvious does this guy have to be. I have lost all respect for the governor and the democrats!! Budget crisis my eye. This is all about bringing a undependable source of revenue to fund the lawmakers pockets. It will help very few Kentuckians. I guess the gambling industry got a good return for it's million dollar investment in the Beshear administration.


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