Push to legalize casinos faltering

A legislative proposal to legalize casinos in Kentucky appears to be in serious trouble.

The Associated Press reported Monday night that Republican Caucus Chairman Dan Seum has told Capitol reporters the measure doesn’t have enough votes to pass.

Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood, who is leading a campaign against expanded gambling, said he’s pleased lawmakers are listening to their constituents.

“It may be too early to declare gambling legislation dead, but clearly it’s on life support,” Chitwood said. “Lawmakers realize that legalizing casinos is a bad idea because of the misery they’d bring to Kentucky. They’re also aware that voting for casinos could very well cost them re-election because so many Kentuckians oppose the idea. We’re aware that no bill is truly dead as long the legislature is in session, but we do hope that this one doesn’t survive.”

Seum, who has been pushing to get the gambling measure through the Senate, said he hasn’t given up.

The AP reported that Seum’s comments came after a private meeting in which Senate Republicans discussed the gambling issue.

Gov. Steve Beshear has been pushing expanded gambling as a revenue producer, but Kentucky lawmakers, most of whom are seeking re-election this year, have been reluctant to go along.

House Democrats have privately said they will only vote on a gambling bill after it has been passed by Senate Republicans.


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