Friday, September 9, 2011

Bill would let counties decide gambling issue

Crittenden County voters could be choosing in November 2012 whether to allow expanded gambling.

If Mike Nemes, a Louisville Republican, has his way, all counties in the commonwealth would be doing just that in 14 months. He has filed two bills for the 2012 session that if approved would allow the vote on expanded gambling.

“This issue has been debated for years in the commonwealth on whether to allow gaming in Kentucky, even whether it needs voter approval or not,” said Rep. Nemes. “While the commonwealth drags its feet on this issue, other states like Indiana and Ohio have approved legislation on expanded gaming.  t’s time for the voters of Kentucky to end debate and decide whether Kentucky needs to legalize expanded gaming.”

BR 189 would place a constitutional amendment on the ballot for the 2012 general election for voters to come to a decision on whether expanded gaming should be legal. BR 246 would establish a new section of KRS Chapter 239 for implementation of expanding gaming. Rep. Nemes says BR 246 is different that past proposals for expanding gaming for various reasons:
  • It allows counties to vote on whether or not to allow expanded gaming in their community.
  • Allows horse racing facilities in counties that approve expanded gaming an option for a limited gaming license.
  • Allows counties with horse racing facilities to vote on whether to allow only a limited gaming license or both full and limited licenses.
  • Opens bidding for a full casino license to all entities including but not limited to horse racing facilities in counties that approve expanded gaming.
  • Gives horse racing facilities the option to take the winning bid with all amenities and add eight percent to obtain the full license in that county that approves expanded gaming.
  • Gives counties a fee of $1 per admission from those entering a casino.
  • Gives counties a say to restricting and the minimum requirements for acceptable facilities.
  • Gives counties a say as to which bid is accepted for expanding gaming facilities in their community.
In addition Rep. Nemes’ bills also sets up a statewide program to provide counseling and assistance for compulsive gamblers.