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
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."