Casino Bill Folds in Frankfort

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A beleaguered proposal to legalize casinos
in Kentucky will not pass in the current legislative session, Gov. Steve Beshear said Thursday.
"For this session, it is dead," Beshear told reporters at an impromptu press conference outside his Capitol office.

The Democratic governor had pushed for a constitutional amendment to legalize casinos. He said allowing casinos to open, then taxing them, could have generated up to $600 million a year in much needed state revenue.

Although Kentucky has a long tradition of wagering at horse
tracks, the state constitution specifically forbids casinos. If lawmakers had agreed to amend the constitution to allow casinos, voters would have had a chance to ratify or reject the proposal in a ballot referendum.

Beshear made the announcement after a brief meeting with leading
Democratic lawmakers late Thursday.
"We agree that we do not have the votes necessary to pass the
gaming amendment in the House, and we see no prospect of getting that number of votes with the little time remaining," Beshear
House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, vowed the fight
for casinos isn't over.
"Certainly, we will come back in the future and try to get the votes," he said.
John-Mark Hack, head of the antigambling group Say No To Casinos, said Beshear and lawmakers wasted time and effort pushing the casino measure, even though it has been clear for weeks that the proposal stood no chance of passing.
"The governor admitted the obvious," Hack said. "There's no cause for celebration because the tragedy is we've lost an opportunity to address very important issues that our state faces."

Beshear had argued that casinos could help stave off a projected
$900 million financial shortfall that threatens to cause severe cuts in government services.

Beshear said Monday he would make one final push to get House lawmakers to approve the casino measure, which needed at least 60
votes before it could be sent to the Senate for consideration.

Dave Adkisson, head of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, appeared with Beshear to encourage lawmakers to act. Adkisson said
Kentucky residents already are spending more than $1 billion a year at casinos in neighboring states of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and West Virginia.
"I'm surprised but thankful that it didn't pass," said state
Rep. Tom Riner, D-Louisville, a Baptist pastor. "It would have
hurt a lot of families that are struggling with financial problems
and looking for a quick fix."

Because of that, Riner said, lawmakers weren't willing to open
the state to casinos.
"I think gambling brings with it many of the social problems
that in the end are going to cost us much more in terms of lives
destroyed, families destroyed."

Beshear made the casino issue a centerpiece of his campaign last year, winning a lopsided victory over Republican incumbent Ernie Fletcher, who had been indicted on criminal charges for allegedly violating state hiring laws. Beshear tried to paint his victory as a mandate for gambling. Lawmakers rejected that argument.

"I think it's fair to say that legislators here in Kentucky, or
anywhere else, don't like to have to handle controversial issues if
they don't have to," Beshear said. "They obviously worry about
the constituencies back home and what effect it might have on their

Even so, Beshear said he will certainly consider raising the
issue again in 2010, which, under state law, is the earliest the issue could be placed on the ballot for voters to consider.
"Obviously, we will see how things develop over the next year
and a half, as we approach the 2010 session, to see what might be
possible at that time," he said.

The casino legislation is House Bill 550.

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

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  • by sam on Apr 4, 2008 at 10:27 AM
    I have seen how money from casinos has helped our surrounding states. Its too bad the people of Kentucky are wearing blinders like our horses. If people in Kentucky want to gamble they can , Indiana is an hour away, so lets continue to fund their roads and education and see what shape Kentucky is in the next 4 years. The Governor tried his best to bring revenue to the state, so dont blame him because of all the narrow minded people that wont allow casinos.I really dont understand the difference in betting on a horse and putting money in a slot machine or playing cards its all gambling.I think all the people that are against casinos should meet and try to get horse racing out of Kentucky too, since gambling is such a sin.
  • by Anita Location: KY on Mar 31, 2008 at 06:19 AM
    If we tax tobacco again, let's also tax liquor. Alcohol, hurts more people than tobacco! We should make plenty of cash.
  • by NAthan Location: Frankfort on Mar 30, 2008 at 07:16 PM
    This reminds me of the movie "Walking Tall" with the Rock.
  • by jimmy Location: ky. on Mar 30, 2008 at 02:00 PM
    impeach steve and daniel have another election!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • by Catsfanagain Location: Kentucky on Mar 30, 2008 at 06:28 AM
    To: Steve from Lexington I disagree whole heartedly with you. The people from Kentucky have spoken in my opinion. I can not speak for everyone but all the people I know who opposed this bill called their represenatives office and voiced their opposition. Obviously more people called and opposed the bill. I say this because if the majority had called them and supported the bill then it would be on the ballot to vote. And one final point to make to you. I will not call you a so-called Christian or any other insulting name today because I have no right to JUDGE you as you had no right to call any other Christian a so-called Christian. It is Jesus alone that has been given the right to judge. Whether it is a true victory or a false victory, either way it is a victory when you keep sin and destruction out of the state. Kentucky WON when this bill was defeated let there be no doubt about that. I will continue to pray this bill stays dead. Thank God it was defeated this time.
  • by jesse Location: berea on Mar 29, 2008 at 09:26 AM
    I think the gambling bill should be put on a ballot and allow the voters of Kentucky to decide its fate.What this feels like, is a few are trying to decide what is best for all.
  • by steve on Mar 28, 2008 at 05:06 PM
    Its we the people that changes things regardless of party and we need to all stick together and do this more often when these clowns do this kinda stuff. We need to start doing Washington this way to these politicians are making fun of us while they are blowing our money.They love to see us fight that way they can pat one another on the back and laugh.
  • by Mark Location: Lexington on Mar 28, 2008 at 02:29 PM
    They do not care about anything other than padding their own pockets--make no mistake about it. We have children controlling the state's budget. Haven't you noticed all the childish and petty bickering? In addition, they have slashed the budgets in the Judicial and Executive branches. In fact, they've cut the Judicial Branch to the point of non-function. Look out everyone, if you thought a lot of criminals were out on the streets before--just wait! They've devastated education and, all the while, managed to give themselves a 10 million dollar budget increase!! That's right. I said 10 million dollars!! Folks, they do not have our best interests in mind. They all feel that they are above us lowly citizens. Believe me, they didn't stop casino gambling because they were listening to the people. If that were the case, then they would have given them the chance to vote on the issue. Yes, I'll remember this at election time. They ALL should be voted OUT!!
  • by Steve Location: Lexington on Mar 28, 2008 at 02:29 PM
    The people of Kentucky have not spoken! They were denied the right to vote and voice their opinion on whether they wanted casinos or not. Basically, David Williams has spoken and made the decision for 4 million people and said that we don't want casinos, and that he's smarter than all of us because we don't deserve our constitutional right to vote on the issue. Although I am personally opposed to casinos and would've voted no on the constitutional amendment as a matter of faith, I must wholeheartedly disagree with the other so-called Christians on here who think that we've won a battle on this one. The casino bill was to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to allow Kentuckians to decide this issue once and for all. What has happened is that we've lost another fundamental right given to us by our forefathers who came to this country and died for it. Kentuckians have LOST big-time today.
  • by Zatoichi Location: Richmond on Mar 28, 2008 at 02:14 PM
    You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away.
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