The state Senate has voted down a proposal to change the state Constitution to legalize casinos in Kentucky.
Despite the long history of wagering on horses, Kentucky has never allowed casinos. And many lawmakers have been reluctant to vote to change that, knowing they may face disapproving constituents in upcoming legislative elections.
They voted down the casino proposal 21-16. Gov. Steve Beshear has been pushing for more gambling opportunities in Kentucky in hopes that it would generate more revenue for the horse industry and for state government coffers. Beshear said Kentucky could collect $266 million in one-time license fees by allowing casinos to open. Taxing them, he said,
could generate an additional $377 million a year in revenue for government programs and services.
In a statement, Beshear said he was disappointed in the vote and accused Senate President David Williams of "sabotage" for scheduling the vote on a day when he knew a supporter would be out of town.
Williams says that one vote wouldn't have made the difference.