Beshear calls for casinos, sports betting to help fund pension system

Published: Sep. 12, 2019 at 10:23 AM EDT
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Democratic candidate for governor and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has announced his plan for expanded gaming in the Commonwealth in an effort to find new revenue sources for the state's pension system.

The Beshear campaign announced Thursday it will look to legalize casinos, sports betting and online poker with a goal of directing all tax revenues toward pensions.

“Expanded gaming is a long-overdue and common sense way to make Kentucky more competitive and protect the hard-earned pensions of our teachers and first responders,” said Andy Beshear. “While Matt Bevin is making up excuses and false claims, Indiana and our neighboring states continue to steal our revenue. I’ll always put the best interests of our people first — and that includes expanding gaming to create new opportunities here in Kentucky.”

Republican Governor Matt Bevin has previously said he was "agnostic" on sports betting, and he believes casino gaming would barely make an impact on pension funding. He has also pointed to the impacts gambling has on families, saying "somebody takes their life in a casino because they've wasted the last semblance of dignity and hope that they had" during a radio interview in July.

The Kentucky Legislature has yet to pass an expanded gaming bill despite lawmakers from both parties expressing support.

The campaign said its plan would also include working with nonprofits to help those with gambling addiction.

Kentucky currently has horse racing betting and the Kentucky Lottery.