Politics
2:43 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Clark: Expanded Gambling Has Public Support, but Legislative Backing Still a Question

A high-ranking Kentucky lawmaker believes there’s enough public support to pass a constitutional amendment to expand gambling in the state.

But House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark also admits that getting the necessary votes in the legislature remains an uphill fight.

The Louisville Democrat testified before the House Licensing and Occupations committee Wednesday about a pair of measures on the issue, including his bill that would ask voters whether casinos should be allowed.

“The Senate also has a constitutional amendment on this subject, and the Governor is engaged as well," Clark said. "I think we’re in a good position this year to make progress.”

A Senate bill sponsored by Louisville Republican Dan Seum would allow up to seven casinos in the state and set aside 10 percent of revenues to benefit Kentucky’s horse industry.

Governor Beshear has pressed lawmakers to expand gambling since he took office in 2007, with no success.

A 2013 Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll showed 60 percent of those asked supported expanded gambling.

Opponents of more gaming say supporters are exaggerating the economic benefits of such an expansion.