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Governor Beshear Wants Expanded Gambling For Kentucky In 2012

Governor Steve Beshear is best known in gambling circles as the man who attempted to seize the domain names of 141 online gambling sites. That debacle that played out a couple of years ago was unsuccessful, and now Beshear says he is ready to expand gambling in his state.

On Thursday, the governor announced that he wants legislators to discuss gambling expansion in 2012. That expansion could include slot machines at state race tracks. The slots would be a welcomed addition at the tracks that have struggled as the horse racing industry has slowed considerably over the past several years.

Churchill Downs is one of the most legendary horse racing facilities in the nation. The home of the Kentucky Derby is facing similar economic hardships as other tracks around the US. With contact sports becoming more popular worldwide, horse racing has been put on the back-burner by many gamblers. American football and soccer have become the gambling options of choice for millions of gamblers.

In other states around the US, adding casino gambling to race tracks has been a recipe that has worked well. Without the slots, gamblers have stayed away, but facilities that have expanded and added slots and poker have been able to survive the economic recession. Dozens of states have expanded gambling, and Beshear has been toying with the idea for a couple of years.

The governor has more of an opportunity to take risks with the Legislature after he was re-elected last month. With the election behind him, Beshear believes that the gambling issue should be met head on in the new year, whether that means expanding gambling or simply debating the issue for one final time.

"The House has already voted once on this issue, and it is now up to the Senate to act in good faith," said House Speaker Greg Stumbo. "If they send us legislation, we will take a look at it."

Senate President David Williams is in favor of expanded gambling in Kentucky. Williams ran unsuccessfully against Beshear in the last election, and during that campaign he asserted that the governor was not a strong leader when it came to the gambling issue. Williams is open to further discussions regarding the issue.

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