Governor Steve Beshear’s constitutional amendment to legalize casinos in Kentucky has cleared its first legislative hurdle.
The bill passed the Senate’s State and Local Government committee 7-4 today.
The measure would allow up to seven casinos in Kentucky. But the committee changed the bill, dropping language that requires five of the casinos to be at horse racing tracks. The measure still requires a 60-mile buffer zone between tracks and independent casinos.
“You know the 60 mile radius is really a number that you come to by negotiating, trying to figure out what’s a reasonable radius to have,” Beshear told the committee. “I would agree with you it could be 40, could be 70, you know you need some type of reasonable buffer in order to protect the tracks and make sure it can stay in existence.”
Martin Cothran of the Family Foundation told committee members that the bill still gives the racing industry a monopoly.