LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – In their fourth debate, Governor Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear met on the set of KET, where no stone was left unturned.
The unplanned theme of the debate lingered on expanded gaming in Kentucky.
Democrat Andy Beshear says with dozens of other states having legal casinos and sports betting, he sees the trend as a revenue stream to solve Kentucky’s pension situation – continuously citing $550 million potentially coming in.
“We lose over $550 million in revenue every year to those border states just on casinos before sports betting or any of the rest,” said Beshear. “If we expand gaming, we could put that money directly to the pension system.”
Other Republican-led states take part in the programs. However, Governor Bevin says he will not join in with the crowd.
Bevin says he believes the general public and legislators would not be in favor of the move citing it would only cause more financial problems for personal checkbooks and create addiction.
Bevin also challenged Beshear to cite his numbers on his claim of $550 million.
“When we started these conversations a few months ago it was $200 million then it was $250 million now it's up to $550 million. These are made up numbers"
The debate traveled down a personal path when Beshear challenged Bevin on his comments made during a radio interview about people committing suicide on the ‘floors’ of casinos every night – calling out Bevin for creating an inaccurate image of casinos.
The Governor defended his claim and saying that while people in casinos may not commit suicide on the physical floor, where slots can traditionally be found, they are committing suicide in attached hotels or other areas. The Governor pointed to other cities like Las Vegas, for an example.
When challenged about how the Governor would bring more money in, Bevin was asked if he would be willing to raise taxes of the general public.
“There is a cost to providing pensions that has been ignored year after year after year,” Bevin said.
Neither of the candidates gave sources to either of their claims.