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Government & Politics

No Push for Casinos Expected in Short Session

Antoine Taveneaux, Wikimedia Commons

The issue of expanded gambling has been on Governor Steve Beshear's radar throughout his time in office.

The 2015 legislative session could very well be his last chance to see such a measure adopted. However, Beshear isn't optimistic there will be any movement on casino legislation during the session.  

"One of the biggest problems quite honestly is that the horse industry is really divided on this issue.  Some of them want it, some of them don't want it, and then a lot of them want it only the way they want it.  Everybody's got their own agenda.  It's like herding cats at times. You just can't get them together," said Beshear.

Beshear has maintained for years Kentucky voters want a chance to weigh in on the matter.  He says polls show if put on the ballot, expanded gambling would pass. 

Family Foundation of Kentucky Spokesman Martin Cothran opposes expanded gambling. Cothran says even the proposed beneficiaries of casinos and those in the gambling industry have their differences. 

"The interests of the horse industry and the interests of the casino industry are completely different and that's why they have trouble getting together and why every time they go to try to do legislation they can never really stay on the same page," said Cothran. 

The director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association says the jury is still out on determining the financial impact of 'historic racing' gambling.  Chauncey Morris says if approved, instant racing might not be the best fit at every track. 

"It will depend on each market whether historic racing is for them," said Morris. "It might be a little tougher in places like Louisville or Northern Kentucky since you have the sort of full service casino model there to compete with instant racing in those markets."  

Kentucky courts have yet to offer a final ruling on the legality of instant racing. Beshear says he's not seen any interest from legislators in resurrecting the casinos issue or anyone in the expanded gambling industry. ?

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