Lawmakers want casino gaming on Kentucky ballot in November

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WLKY/WKYT) - A coalition of Republican and Democratic lawmakers say Kentucky needs to allow casino gaming, and the revenue should go toward the state's ailing pension system.

The group of lawmakers held a news conference Thursday to introduce House Bill 224, which would allow voters to decide the issue this November.

"Last July, I took a little road trip," said Rep. Jerry Miller, a Louisville Republican. "I visited three casinos - Indiana, Illinois, Ohio. I counted cars. Forty-two percent were from Kentucky."

Previous studies have estimated casino gaming could generate $250 million per year for Kentucky, Miller said.

Under his bill, all the revenue from casino gaming for 20 years would go to the state's public employee pension system, which faces $60 billion to $80 billion in unfunded liabilities in the coming decades.

Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, plans to introduce a companion bill in the Senate.

"This might actually be the most bipartisan thing we see in Frankfort all session," McGarvey said. "You have Republicans and Democrats from the House and the Senate, you have members of the Louisville Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, teachers, retired teachers, firefighters."

Gov. Bevin has said he opposes casino gaming, but under state law, he cannot veto a bill that requires a voter referendum to change Kentucky's constitution.

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