After years of defeat, Kentucky lawmakers believe an expanded gambling bill could become law next year. At the Kentucky Chamber’s annual policy day, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and new Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer discussed the prospects of such a bill in the upcoming session. Both leaders suggested the opposing chamber take up the bill first when they get to Frankfort next month.
Thayer was the sponsor of a Senate gambling bill in this year's session. The measure ultimately failed. But Thayer says the Senate can pass a new bill if the governor pushes hard enough.
“I think that you know the votes are probably there or close to being there in both chambers. Depends on how hard the governor wants to push it,” Thayer says.
A new proposal for gambling hasn’t yet been introduced. Proponents of expanded gambling are emboldened now that the measure's chief opponent, former Senate President David Williams, has left Frankfort. No matter who introduces the bill, Stumbo says he thinks there’s openness to gambling in the House.
“But I think the House is poised to do something, given the right set of circumstances and the right piece of legislation,” he says.
The House last passed a gambling bill in 2009.