Local News
7:00 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Downtown Louisville a Good Spot for Casino, Mayor Greg Fischer Says

Credit Gabe Bullard/WFPL News

Downtown Louisville would benefit from casinos, Mayor Greg Fisher told WFPL on Thursday.

The market would determine where a casino would be built — but downtown Louisville seems like a logical spot, Fischer told WFPL's Gabe Bullard during an interview.

"That could change a whole lot of the dynamics downtown," Fischer said.

It's "premature" to discuss precisely where a casino may be built in downtown Louisville — or anywhere else — because they're not legal in Kentucky, said Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter, responding to a series of follow-up questions.

A constitutional amendment to allow for casinos in Kentucky has been a longtime goal of Gov. Steve Beshear, but the concept has never made it as far as a referendum.

In October, the departure of State Senate President David Williams — a staunch, powerful opponent of expanded gambling — appeared to give a sliver of new hope for an amendment.  Beshear told Kentucky Public Radio in December that he intends to try again in the upcoming legislative session.

Legislative leaders have expressed optimism that a bill could pass in 2013, as long as it's a bill they can agree upon, obviously.

Fischer told WFPL on Wednesday that he supports expanded gambling, because Kentuckians are already gambling in border states and not reaping any revenue from it.

"People are going to gamble you may not like it.You don't have to gamble yourself, but people are going to do that," he said.

Fischer noted that "people want choices," including conventioneers. He added that he sees no contradiction between adding casino gambling to downtown Louisville and other city movement that attempt to push adult entertainment out of downtown.

Downtown has a a few easily plausible locations for a casino — a so-called "Water Company block" on Muhammad Ali and Second Street and the Louisville Gardens. 

The Cordish Cos. has an option to develop those properties, Poynter said.

"At current, there are no immediate plans for either property," he said.

It's worth noting that Cordish operates casinos elsewhere.