Ky. Senate Kills Gambling Amendment
(Frankfort, Ky.) – It has come up each of the past 15 years in the Kentucky general assembly, and a proposal to allow expanded gaming in the Bluegrass State has again died.
On Thursday, the state Senate voted down Governor Steve Beshear’s proposed constitutional amendment to allow seven casinos in the state.
Supporters of Senate Bill 151 said earlier in the day they didn’t have the votes to pass it. They forecasted correctly as vote was 21-16.
“Obviously, I am disappointed that several of the Senators who had publicly said they would support letting the people decide did not follow through on their commitment to our citizens,” Beshear said in a statement following the Senate vote.
The governor also had harsh words for Senate President David Williams, accusing him of sabotaging the amendment by holding a vote on the bill on a day he knew that Senator who planned to vote “yes” would not be in town.
Beshear said studies estimate Kentucky could collect $266 million in one-time license fees by allowing casinos to open. Taxing them could generate an additional $377 million a year for the state.
To me amended into the state’s constitution, SB 151 would have had to gain 60 percent support in the Kentucky House and Senate. It would then be up to voters to approve the proposal in a statewide referendum in November.
Despite its failure, Beshear said the gambling amendment this year did show signs of progress.
“For the very first time, we were able to get this issue considered by the state Senate, and I appreciate the bipartisan cooperation of Sen. Thayer and others, which allowed that to happen. This is a good omen for the future of expanded gaming in our state, and I look forward to continuing to work with the legislature to address this issue”, the governor said.