casino gambling

Antoine Taveneaux, Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Steve Beshear says disagreement among gambling advocates has made it unlikely that the Legislature can pass a constitutional amendment on casinos this year. Beshear says Kentucky's horse racing industry is divided on how to proceed, which has weakened the chances of passing an amendment.

Despite a long history of wagering on horses, Kentucky has a constitutional ban on casino-style gambling. And many lawmakers have been reluctant to vote to change that, knowing they may face disapproving constituents in future elections.


After years of pushing to legalize casino-style gambling in Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear sounds less than optimistic just days before the start of the next legislative session. Beshear has been hopeful that the retirement of Senate President David Williams, the Republican who was seen as the main roadblock to legalizing casinos, would improve the chances to legalize gambling. Williams resigned late last year when Beshear appointed him as a circuit judge in southern Kentucky.  However, his departure doesn't appear to have significantly improved the odds of passing a gambling amendment in the Bible Belt state. 

Antoine Taveneaux, Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is no longer demanding that any legislation calling for a constitutional amendment to legalize gambling start in the Senate. Stumbo told reporters Thursday, "that line in the sand doesn't have to be drawn any longer." Stumbo and Governor Steve Beshear are hopeful that the departure of Senate President David Williams will improve the chances of getting a bill passed.