Beshear Urges Support Of Casino Bill As Time Runs Out On Session

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

With just a few days remaining in the 2008 legislative session, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and House Democratic leaders are making a final pitch for casino gambling.

With at least 18 House members and two senators at his side, Governor Beshear again appealed to lawmakers to let the people decide the casino gaming issue. “Poll after poll indicates that over 80% of Kentuckians want this on the ballot so that they can express their opinion,” Beshear said.

But casino opponents, like Nancy Jo Kemper of the Kentucky Council of Churches, also attended the rally in the Capitol rotunda. “We aren’t in a referendum state, Kemper said. “That’s not the kind of democratic process that we’re engaged in.”

Beshear wants lawmakers to approve a casino amendment that cleared a House committee almost a month ago. The bill would permit nine casinos to be built in the state, five of which may be at horse tracks.