Governor Steve Beshear plans to start his renewed push to bring casino gambling to Kentucky in the state Senate. Beshear told ABC 36 News Wednesday that his administration’s expanded gaming bill will be introduced in the Senate early in the 2012 legislative session. The session begins January 3. Beshear would not identify the senator who will carry the bill or the lawmaker’s party affiliation.
The Democratic governor said the legislation’s start in the Republican controlled Senate will be in the form of a “simple, direct” bill which will be “a vehicle” for both chambers to begin working on the issue. "I think you will see that we address some specifics in a very short and concise way, that gives people some assurances of how things should be set up,” Beshear said.
Bringing casino gambling to Kentucky to help the state’s revenue base was a cornerstone of Beshear’s first campaign back in 2007, but lawmakers were lukewarm to the idea. Tuesday a new poll, commissioned by the state’s horse tracks, claimed 87% of Kentuckians favor the legislature passing a bill which would allow them to vote on a constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling.
Unlike a previous budget Beshear sent to lawmakers, who included revenue from expanded gaming, the governor says his new budget for the next two fiscal years will not include projected casino revenue. He says it would take 18 months to start generating tax revenue from casinos, noting it could be “long term help.”