Beshear: 'Too Early' on Whether Gambling Bill Will Be Filed
FRANKFORT, Ky. - The clock is ticking on the current legislative session, but efforts to push expanded gambling in the 2013 are still on-going, Gov. Steve Beshear said.
“I think it’s too early to reach a conclusion yet on whether we will have a bill on expanded gaming, you know we’ve got some issues to be resolved," he said.
Beshear is facing a recurring problem since he took office in 2007 and began lobbying for expanded gambling. The state senate won’t pass any gambling amendment that gives a monopoly to horse racing tracks, but some tracks don’t want gambling if they aren’t promised protections.
This year, Beshear is promoting a so-called clean amendment to the state constitution, but only one track has told the governor they are OK with that approach. So the governor says he’s still corralling support for an amendment.
A clean amendment — which would need to be approved in a referendum to become law, should it pass the General Assembly — leaves out built-in protection for horse racing industry. Last year, those sorts of protections led some state senators to drop their support for an expanded gambling amendment.
“I think there’s a lot of conversation going on, I don’t know how they’ll end up," Beshear said. "I know Churchill Downs is generally supportive of this approach, I think they can get comfortable with language that will pass."
Because of issues with a clean amendment with some race tracks, Beshear said it's too soon to figure out whether a bill will be submitted this legislative session.
Beshear added that he’ll know pretty quickly after lawmakers reconvene in February whether gambling will be in play this legislative session.