Kentucky Lawmakers Prepare Expanded Gambling Bill For Late 2014
The state of Kentucky has had a wild ride when it comes to casino gambling over the past few years. At a time when entertainment gambling halls became popular among residents, law enforcement led an attack on the gaming establishments that ended in convictions relating to legislator bribery.
Now, several years after the dust has settled with that legal issue, lawmakers are again preparing to push for regulated casinos. It is an issue that has surfaced, and been defeated, several times in recent years, but one that keeps coming back due to the lucrative nature of the industry.
This time around, legislators are banking on the idea that the state cannot afford to pass up the hundreds of millions of tax dollars that come with regulated casinos. It is a structure that has worked in other states, and one that Kentucky gaming proponents believe will sway voters this time around.
"The state needs the money," said Senate Majority Leader Dan Seum. "It's either pass a tax or do this. Which one do you want."
Seum has lofty plans for Kentucky's first step into the gaming industry. The legislative leader is preparing to propose a bill that would add seven casinos in the state. The casinos would pay a 10 percent tax on revenue, which would be one of the lowest taxes in the US.
Although the plan is in the works, it is not expected that a bill would hit the floor for discussion or a vote before the Fall session in 2014. That gives Seum, and opponents of gambling, plenty of time to create their strategies for when the bill finally is proposed.
Some of the largest lobbying funds have come from gambling tycoon's in recent years. Milton McGregor, who fought and defeated charges against him, has been lobbying lawmakers for years to regulate slot machines. McGregor ran one of the largest entertainment gaming establishments in the state, VictoryLand, for several years before the establishment shut down after McGregor's arrest.