Earlier this year, a proposal to legalize sports betting in Kentucky failed to pass the state legislature.
Democratic gubernatorial hopeful and current state Attorney General Andy Beshear plans to change that if he is elected, the Associated Press reports.
Sports betting enthusiasts thought the gaming expansion would succeed since it had support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. But like numerous times before, the proposed legislation stalled.
Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Andy’s father, repeatedly pressed for the expansion of gaming during his 2007-15 tenure in office but to no avail. Andy Beshear believes he has the answer to make it pass if he is elected governor.
The Democratic candidate was asked how he could make expanded gambling legal in Kentucky when other supporters, including his father, couldn’t. Beshear said that no one has proposed to put the total amount of proceeds from gaming into Kentucky’s pension system, AP News documented.
On Sept. 12, in a campaign statement made on Andy Beshear’s official website, the Kentucky attorney general stated why the expansion on the legalization of gaming is vital for the Bluegrass State.
"Gaming revenue will grow the economy and we will direct 100 percent of the tax revenue to fund the pension system for public servants like teachers and first responders," he said. "These new opportunities will include legalizing casinos, capitalizing on fantasy sports, sports betting, and preparing for online poker."
Beshear said that the expansion of gaming would help create new streams of revenue for Kentucky and added that commercial gaming is a flourishing business that created more than $40 billion in revenue and $9 billion in direct taxes throughout the states that have embraced gaming since 2017.
Horse racing and slot machines are legal in the Bluegrass State, but current Republican Gov. Matt Bevin strongly opposes the legalization of other forms of gaming.
In July, the governor expressed concerns on what gambling does to families, stating, "somebody takes their life in a casino because they’ve wasted the last semblance of dignity and hope that they had,” CBS Kentucky affiliate WKYT reported.
Beshear spoke on Bevin’s harsh criticism of gambling in his campaign’s statement:
"Matt Bevin used to say that neighboring states were ‘eating our lunch.’ But rather than make Kentucky competitive with its neighbors, this governor prefers to spread lies about expanded gaming, while states like Indiana, West Virginia, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, and Ohio continue to open up new gaming opportunities just across our borders."
Andy Beshear also stated that when expanded gaming creates new profits for pensions, it will lessen the financial burden of local counties and health clinics, like rape crisis centers, which are currently forced to endure the costs.