Beshear Proposes Opening 12 Casinos Across The State

FRANKFORT, KY– Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear today unveiled proposed legislation that will allow Kentucky voters to determine a constitutional amendment permitting limited expanded gaming. The governor also discussed details of legislation that would govern the way in which expanded gaming would operate once the constitutional amendment is passed.

“For nearly 15 years this issue has been discussed, debated and yet, deferred. Today, I am taking action and responding to the wishes of the vast majority of Kentuckians by sending to the General Assembly legislation that will give our citizens the opportunity to do as they have demanded – let their voices be heard on whether or not to change the state’s constitution to have limited expanded gaming,” said the governor. “Public opinion research shows that more than 80 percent of Kentucky voters want the right to vote on this issue. It’s past time we acted on that demand and be responsive to the people.”

The language of the proposed constitutional amendment limits the creation of expanded gaming facilities to up to seven licenses for horse racing tracks and up to five free-standing gaming facilities with the approval of voters in the five cities or counties where the proposed casino would be located.

Those counties include Daviess, Kenton or Campbell, Boyd or Greenup, Christian, and either Laurel or Whitely. The taxing rate on the casino revenues is spelled out and, more importantly, the allocation of those revenues for additional services and programs is specified in the legislation, according to the governor.

“We face a financial crisis in this state that is slowly destroying our ability to educate, protect and take care of our people,” said Gov. Beshear. “We no longer have the financial ability to fund the programs we should have in order to meet those needs. Nor do we have the ability to look into the future and begin to build on those opportunities to restore Kentucky’s economic viability. By allowing our fellow Kentuckians to vote on this issue, we are sending a clear message that we are joining with them in finding other ways in which to address this financial crisis.”

The fiscal impact of the proposed gaming legislation indicates total receipts for fiscal year 2009 from facility application and license fees would be approximately $500 million. The estimated gaming receipts for fiscal year 2010 would be approximately $482 million with the majority of those receipts from license fees and wagering taxes.

“If the people of Kentucky vote ‘Yes’ for limited expanded gaming, we strongly believe that the annual estimated fiscal impact of the legislation at full implementation would be approximately $600 million,” said the governor.

The legislation that would be enacted, once the constitutional amendment is approved, contains a number of measures that will assure the people of Kentucky that this initiative will be done correctly and with openness, according to the governor.

Those details include:

§ Creation of a seven-member Gaming Commission with four-year terms, appointed by the governor and approved by the House and Senate, which would hire an executive director to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Commission.

§ For horse racing tracks, up to seven casino licenses which would be located either at the tracks or on other property within the county in which the track is located.

§ Up to five free-standing casinos with a provision that a local referendum will be held in which voters will decide to allow a free-standing casino in their city or county.

§ Specific allocation of gaming tax proceeds to state and local programs including 50 percent for education, including early childhood, primary and secondary, and post-secondary; 20 percent to healthcare, including care for the indigent, seniors and children; a program for treatment of compulsive gambling will receive up to $2 million per fiscal year, 3 percent to host jurisdictions and 5 percent each to support city and county programs, with 17 percent divided among other programs including substance abuse and treatment, veterans’ programs, tourism, fish and wildlife, environmental protection, agriculture, livestock research, and agriculture easements; economic development in non-host communities. Separate accounts will be established for support of racing and to further improve the various breeds of horses found in Kentucky.

“This is a critical time for Kentucky and its citizens. Our legislators should listen to their constituents and allow them to vote on this question. There will be no better opportunity to help move Kentucky forward,” said Gov. Beshear.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Steve Beshear has unveiled a proposal
that could legalize casinos in Kentucky.
The newly elected Democrat called Thursday for 12 casinos in
various parts of the state.
Although Kentucky has a long tradition of wagering at horse
tracks, state law specifically forbids casinos. Beshear wants
lawmakers to approve a measure that would allow Kentucky voters to
change the constitution to allow them.
Beshear says his proposal could generate $600 million a year in
additional revenue for state government after all the casinos are
fully operating. He says the proposal also would generate $500
million in upfront application and licensing fees.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Gov. Steve Beshear and lawmakers met privately Wednesday, and the governor said afterward that a proposed constitutional amendment and
coinciding legislation to set up casinos would be filed in the
General Assembly today.

Beshear has said casino gambling could generate up to $500 million in new revenue for the state.

However, those opposed tell 27 NEWSFIRST casinos will hit Kentucky hard, in the places we cherish the most.

John-Mark Hack is the chairman to the "Say No To Casinos" campaign.

"Casinos stand to be the single most dangerous source of competition for the horse racing industry," Hack said.

Hack also argues local betting dollars will go to casino mogul.
And he fears once people start they won't stop, due to the highly addictive nature of casino gambling.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by james Location: erlanger ky on Mar 13, 2009 at 08:23 AM
    I LIVED IN COVINGTION KY. FOR 30 YEARS. I LOVED IT .NOW IT HAS TURNED TO A VERY VERY POUR TOWNE. THE JAIL IS SO OVER CROUDED . THEAY ARE PUT RIGHT BACK ON THE STREETS. BEFORE THE POLICE GET FINISHED WITH THE PAPER WORK. KENTON COUNTY NEEDS HELP. EXP WITH A NEW JAIL A LARGE ONE. A CASINO. WOULD SOLVE THE PROBLEMS WE HAVE .AND BRING COVINGTION BACK TO LIFE. PLEASE HELP. THANK YOU JAMES FROST SR.
  • by howard & martha patton Location: lexington, ky on Mar 7, 2008 at 04:28 AM
    Gov. Brashear, what is wrong with you? We feel you have betrayed the people of Kentucky in supporting cigarette tax when your campaign platform was "no taxes" and that you would veto any brought to you to be signed? We belive you have sold your soul just to get the "casino gambling" passed. We're so disappointed another politician has betrayed the people of this state. What happened to your honesty? Shame on you!
  • by Floyd Location: Anderson Co. on Feb 26, 2008 at 02:39 PM
    I agree that the voters should have a choice of voting for or against Casino's in Ky. I don't agree that any of the proceeds from the Casino's should be earmarked to support the horse industry. If any other business is failing does the state jump in and bail them out? Of course not, they succeed or fail on their own merits as they should and as the horse industry should also.
  • by Svetlana Location: Lexington on Feb 26, 2008 at 10:33 AM
    The poor grammar,the misspelled words and the lack of thought behind most of the comments people are posting leave me to believe this really is a battle between the educated and non-educated. I prefer that all adults spend their money wisely, especially if they've children in their homes. But as natural as it was for my friend's father to waste his weekly check at the "trots", as he called it, it's quite natural for the poor and uneducated to be manipulated by those who knowingly and most willingly will keep them in poverty while lining their own proverbial pockets. My friend lived in a shack without indoor plumbing. Her father had eleven mal-nourished children to raise...I'm astounded that they survived. The poverty cycle continues. Four made it out and went to college. The others may be found gambling, collecting disability, taking drugs...that is if they're still alive. We'll always have poor and ignorant people among us. They don't have to be exploited. Love them instead?!
  • by diane Location: Mt. sterling on Feb 21, 2008 at 02:49 PM
    The people that think that we are loosing to revenue to other states by letting Kentuckians gamble there do not understand the gambling industry. Other states do not gain revenue from gamblers the gambling industry alone gets almost all of the revenue. By having Kentuckians staying here to loose their money to the gambling industry will make no difference. We still will loose.
  • by Dave Location: Georgetown on Feb 19, 2008 at 08:49 AM
    The above proposed statute says, "§ Specific allocation of gaming tax proceeds to state and local programs including..." I strongly feel that these allocations must be made IN ADDITION to the percent of the budget CURRENTLY budgeted for these items. This must be IN THE STATUTE not just a statement by politicians. In many states where allocations of this type are made, the allocation becomes the entire budgeted amount for these items resulting in NO increase or A DECREASE in what is budgeted for these programs. If you feel this way, contact your elected officials.
  • by JJ Location: Lex on Feb 18, 2008 at 09:10 PM
    Why not focus on the good that could come out of this. THE JOBS! Casinos need waitress, waiters, cooks, bands, bartenders, store clerks, dealers, security, cash office clerks, parking attendents, custodians...the list goes on. Stop being ignorant and holding us back! We need these jobs. Temptation is alway present pray to be delivered from evil instead of condeaming a way for people that don't have higher education to make a decent living.
  • by Fred Location: Lexington on Feb 18, 2008 at 01:29 PM
    Will the slot machines take food stamps?
  • by Anonymous on Feb 18, 2008 at 10:45 AM
    If every one is nor for the casinos and gambling then I thank that all the horse tracks in Kentucky should be closed. You lose money there also betting on horses. I thank Casinos would be good for Kentucky because there would be a lot of jobs open up for someone that would need one. Half the people on this comment page has bet on a horse in the past I bet.
  • by Goebel Location: Lexington on Feb 18, 2008 at 06:12 AM
    If you don't like gambling don't go to the places that have gambling. Each person should have their own choice.

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