Since 2007, the state of Kentucky has been one that was supposed to be a major player in the gambling industry. The former Governor, Steve Beshear, promised to bring casinos to Kentucky to help with revenue issues. During Beshear’s eight years in service as Governor, he was never able to convince legislators of the state to create an amendment to the constitution of Kentucky to allow gambling to be expanded on the ballot.
Because of the opposition of gambling in the state, it is surprising to learn that two state senators proposed an amendment to the constitution last week, according to various articles in Kentucky media. The measure would provide casino gaming and give the state 90% of gaming revenues for the first ten years, allocated to the pension funds. The 10% that remains would be used to help Kentucky horse races.
Senator Morgan McGarvey and Julie Raque Adams proposed the legislation, with McGarvey unveiling the proposal during a news conference last Tuesday. During the conference, the state senator said that when it comes to gaming, reasonable minds can differ, but gaming is already in the state. 80% of Kentucky residents live within one hour of a casino and the state legislators just need to choose if they want Kentucky to benefit from casino gaming.
The state has severely underfunded pension funds for employees of the state as well as teachers. Many wonder if the pension problem is enough to cause legislators to change their mind in regards to casino gambling.
It seems the proposal by the two state senators has a long way to go to get through General Assembly and bring about a vote. A constitutional amendment requires three fifths of the House and Senate members to vote in favor of to pass. When the idea was backed by Governor Beshear, it failed to move forward. Now with Governor Matt Bevin, it seems that the amendment has even further to go to be approved as the Governor is in opposition of casino gambling.