Politics
2:30 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Kentucky Expanded Gambling Critic Shares Concerns With House Committee

Credit Creative Commons

The fight over expanded gambling continues in Frankfort.

Opponent took their concerns on Wednesday to the state House.

While much of the criticism is rooted in moral opposition to gambling, there’s concern about a lack of transparency as well.

Members of anti-gaming groups told lawmakers that the harm gaming would cause isn’t worth the estimated $286 million in new tax revenue that Rep. Larry Clark says his gaming bill would generate.

Stan Cave is an attorney with the anti-gaming Family Foundation of Kentucky and a former Republican House member. He’s concerned that Clark’s legislation permits too much secrecy among gaming companies and the state.

“Does anyone believe that lawyers for the gambling industry, who are lawyered-up like no other industry, will not be communicating with the lawyers with the gambling commission?" Cave says. "Does anyone believe that those communications will be intended to influence the outcome of decisions in matters that are before this new gambling commission?”

Clark defended his bill, saying it provides funding for gambling addiction treatment—and the revenue it would bring in is necessary in light of budget cuts proposed Tuesday by the governor.

“I don’t think there’s any appetite to do tax modernization this session. Either we’re gonna have to come up with new revenue or there’s gonna be more cuts. We’ve got some agencies cut by 41 percent," says Clark, a Louisville Democrat.

Clark says he wants the Senate to take up the issue first, although leadership in that chamber has yet to do so.