Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, who successfully campaigned for office on a platform that emphasized bringing casinos to the state, now says that a limit on the number of casinos allowable should be put in any constitutional amendment to legalize casino gambling.
Critics of plans to establish Kentucky casinos have used possible proliferation as a major point of attack, citing other states that allowed for a small number of casinos, only to find themselves continually expanding.
Any amendment must pass both the state House and Senate by a three-fifths majority, and then by voters in a referendum.
The move by Beshear is seen as an attempt to win over crucial votes in the Republican-controlled Senate, although gambling foe Senate Majority Leader Dan Kelly said he didn’t know if limiting casino numbers would help pass an amendment.
Reverend Nancy Jo Kemper, director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, said her group would oppose the amendment in any form, regardless of limits or language.
Beshear was not specific as to exact numbers. He had previously stated a desire to bring casinos to the state’s racetracks, as well as a few new carefully selected locations.
Beshear stated that residents of Kentucky already spend over$1 billion annually on gambling by traveling to other states. He emphasized the need to finance the state budget, and the help legalized in-state gambling could bring.
It seems that the legislature is ignoring the will of the people. Governor Beshear was elected on a pro-gambling platform; if the voters wish to change their minds on casinos, they would have that opportunity when a referendum was voted upon.
To not allow the people the chance to make this decision would seem a capitulation to special interests, not a decision to serve the public.