Opposition to Kentucky Expanded Gambling Starts Taking Form

Opposition to a pair of expanded gaming bills filed in the Kentucky legislature is already starting to form.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate haven’t publicly commented on the legislation, but a former lawmaker’s criticism may offer the shape of things to come.

Stan Cave is an attorney with the Family Foundation, and has litigated against gaming interests. He was also in the state House from 1992-2000.

And in his career, Cave says he’s seen his fair share of expanded gaming bills, and the latest proposals to establish eight casinos and put the issue of gaming on the ballot is nothing new.

The latest proposal, he argues, does  little to protect the thoroughbred industry, and would pave the way for casino interests to control Kentucky politics.

“As the casinos achieve greater and greater political influence and political power because they have the money to do so, through campaign contributions and participation through elections, they will work to make the slice of the pie for the racing industry smaller and smaller over time,” Cave says.

Cave says the legislation also reflects an expected rise in criminal activity due to what he says are a hundred pages dedicated to new criminal statutes in the bills.

Cave says he’s wary of the bill’s presentation as a panacea for the state’s economic woes.

State Rep.  Larry Clark, a Louisville Democrat and the bills’ sponsor, contends his legislation would raise an estimated $286 million in tax revenue.

“There’ll be legal challenges to it,” Cave says.  ”There’ll be moral challenges to it, there will be those who look at the bill for what it really is, and what I think is, kind of a deceptive sort of practice: If you make the bill 150 pages long and the gambling industry want to bet that no one will read it until it’s too late.”

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