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Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear adds gambling to new agenda

5/6/2009
In the wake of all the online gambling domain name controversy last year, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear lobbed a provocative salvo to lawmakers yesterday, putting the General Assembly in a position to consider gambling legislation later this month.

Democratic Beshear, who put the expansion of gambling into his campaign, urged legislators to permit video slot machines at Kentucky's horse-racing tracks. A state synonymous with the Kentucky Derby, the whole horse racing industry is in peril without additional gambling revenue to buoy it.

"Kentucky's horse industry—a living breathing part of our cultural heritage and one of our strongest, most precious commodities abroad—is in a state of crisis," Beshear said. "Some even say it's dying."

After a time of quiet on the topic, Beshear shed light on the gambling issue again a day after making lawmakers convene on June 15 to consider legislation based on alleviating Kentucky’s estimated $1 billion shortfall in the next fiscal year.

Beshear’s budget proposal relies on more than $740 million in stimulus to bridge the impending budget gap and he’s imploring lawmakers consider the plan as money from gambling would help boost racing purses and open up a revenue stream for the state government when the stimulus runs out, commented Beshear.

"For too long the focus has been on political consequences and for too long people have been afraid to act on this issue," Beshear said.
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