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Expanded Gaming Losing Steam In Frankfort

One a pillar of Gov. Steve Beshear’s campaign for governor, the pledge to legalize expanded casino gambling appears less and less likely.

Momentum for expanded gaming has slowed considerably since both the House and Senate tackled legislation on the issue in 2009 and 2012. And a number of factors are likely to prevent it from making another appearance during the upcoming General Assembly session – including bad blood between Democratic House speaker Greg Stumbo and Churchill Downs following the racetrack’s $100,000 donation to a group backing Republicans.

Gov. Beshear told cn|2 Pure Politics the issue has proven divisive.

"It’s hard to even get the horse industry together," he said. "You know, you’ll have the tracks on one side, you’ll have the breeders on the other, then you’ll have the tracks against each other. You know, you never can get them all corralled in one place to support one particular approach."

Republican Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer is not on board either.

"I've always been for letting people decide on this issue and I did carry Gov. Beshear's bill a few years ago, [but] I have no plans to carry a casino gambling bill ever again," Thayer said.

Even if Thayer did reconsider and an expanded gaming bill passed the legislature in 2015, Kentucky voters would still have to ratify the amendment the following year.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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