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Study shows expanded gambling could bring $1.7 billion impact on state

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

It could be on the ballot in November for Kentucky voters to decide.

Expanded gambling has been on the minds of Kentuckians for years, but not everyone agrees on the impacts casinos could have in the state.

Governor Beshear is placing his bet, he thinks expanded gambling could help Kentucky's struggling budget.

State lawmakers were told Wednesday that Kentucky's horse industry is losing money, and there is also concern that the state is missing out on possible profit because Kentuckians are going to other states to gamble.

A recent study released by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce says that in the first year casinos could have a $1.7 billion impact on the state, and some of that revenue could go towards helping the horse industry.

"Under the scenario that they studied, expansion of gaming would not only help stop the loss of jobs that we have going on in the state, but it would create almost 11,000 full time jobs," said Bryan Sunderlan with Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

But is it the answer to the state's budget problem? Some critics of expanded gambling say casinos would only take money away from other industries.

"We will keep some of the money in the state, but there is only a limited amount of disposable income for recreation so we will be moving money from the lottery over to that," said Mike Duncan, the former RNC Chair.

Democrat and former secretary of state Bob Babbage says expanded gambling is not the answer to all the budget problems, but he says Kentuckians should have the opportunity to vote on the issue especially since people in the state have no problem going across the border to get their gambling fix.


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