Casino Operator Defends $1 Million Political Contribution

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A wealthy casino operator is defending an eye-catching $1 million contribution to a political group that worked to elect a pro-gambling governor in Kentucky.

William Yung III, who heads Crestview Hills-based Columbia Sussex Corp., has essentially placed a huge bet that newly elected Gov. Steve Beshear will be able to get the state's long-standing prohibition against casinos lifted.

"I make no apologies for helping get Steve Beshear elected," Yung told The Associated Press in an interview this week. "I've got a First Amendment right to spend my money any way I want to spend it."

Beshear is proposing an amendment to the state constitution that would allow up to seven casinos to be built at Kentucky horse tracks and five others in communities along the state's borders with Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia. That many casinos, he said, could generate $600 million a year in tax revenue for a cash-strapped state government.

The proposal is a long shot in a Bible-belt state where lawmakers have rejected numerous other casino proposals over the past decade. If it passes, Yung plans to open a casino on a northern Kentucky site he bought just last month for $7 million.

"Absolutely, we're gambling on it," Yung said. "We don't know if it's going to pass or not."

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  • by Joe Taxpayer Location: KY on Feb 26, 2008 at 05:34 AM
    That's okay William Yung; we as Kentucky taxpayers and voters won't apologize either when we vote a resounding NO to casino gambling. I wonder what you will do with your $7M investment of land? Quite frankly, I don't give a rat's behind if you lose your shirt. That's exactly what you want us to do if you are allowed to build a casino. I have no sympathy or respect for a person like you.
  • by Diane Location: Mt. Sterling on Feb 24, 2008 at 06:52 PM
    What would you expect someone with no ethics or any concern for our state or it's citizens to say. This guy's only concern is profit at our state's expense. Our Governor has demonstrated his personal ethics by accepting his dirty money and doing his bidding. The price for a soul in Kentucky is just a million dollars.
  • by Joey Location: Lex on Feb 23, 2008 at 05:43 PM
    THIS is the reason to vote no! Once a crook; always a crook.
  • by steve Location: irvine on Feb 23, 2008 at 10:42 AM
    Why what makes you think that the casinos gave money to Beshear why he would not take anything from them gees what a joke i will be glad when this 4 years is up.
  • by Barry Location: Pikevile on Feb 23, 2008 at 08:33 AM
    Coal companies have been buying polititions for years. Why shouldn't a casino operator be able too?


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