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Tue February 28, 2012
Governor Beshear Won't Back Down from Gambling Debate
Governor Steve Beshear says he won’t back down on efforts to bring casino gambling to Kentucky, despite another defeat on the issue last week.
Since his first term as governor in 2007, Beshear has made expanding gambling his main priority. This year, he attempted to pass a constitutional amendment dealing with the issue through the state Senate. The bill fell seven votes short of passage in a vote that critics say should be the end of the issue. But Beshear says the vote gave more resolve to the business leaders and horse racing interests who back the idea.
“I think if anything it strengthens the coalition because they’ve become more determined to get the job done,” he says.
Before this year, the Senate had never taken a floor vote on any of Beshear's gambling bills. The governor says now that a vote has been taken, supporters can lobby to change lawmakers' minds.
“We now have been able to do that, we know who’s for it, who’s against it and I think we also know the votes we can work on and so actually this was a step forward. This is a good omen," he says.
Critics of the bill say the issue will remain dead because it gives the horse industry a monopoly on gaming.