Kentucky Governor Matthew Bevin condemned a proposal for the legalization of casino gambling within the state in a radio interview for WKDZ yesterday morning. Governor Bevin went as far as stating that every night a person in America falls victim to suicide in a casino.
Bevin criticized harshly the support for gambling expansion shown by his Democratic opponent Andy Beshear. General Attorney Beshear embraces the idea of bringing legal casino gambling to the state. He sees it as a new source of revenue that could potentially aid Kentucky’s struggling pension system.
The Bluegrass State has one of the most poorly-funded public pension systems in the United States. In Bevin’s opinion, the legalization would fail to produce tangible results due to the societal costs that result from gambling-related harm. He argued that the only way to raise more money for Kentucky is to have more people who live there and pay taxes in the state.
The Governor failed to provide actual evidence to back up his suicide-related claim with. Sam Newton, a campaign spokesperson of General Attorney Beshear addressed Bevin’s claims as erratic, citing them as proof for the Governor’s inability to lead.
The President of the American Gaming Association Bill Miller chimed in on the Governor’s radio statement, calling it “patently false and irresponsible”. Miller insisted that the US gambling industry spends thousands of millions annually for problem gambling prevention and added that casino players have all the necessary tools to gamble responsibly.
Legalized Gambling to Generate $500 Million in Annual Revenue, Beshear Estimates
Proposals for casino gambling expansion have failed to gain the approval of local legislature on multiple occasions despite Kentucky’s need for a revenue boost. Former Governor Steven Beshear, the father of Kentucky’s current General Attorney, was among the supporters of the idea.
General Attorney Beshear has also spoken in favor of sports betting, estimating that gambling expansion could generate as much as $500 million in annual revenue for the struggling state.
Beshear argued that the absence of legal gambling in Kentucky causes the locals to pour money into casinos situated in other states instead of helping the local economy. The General Attorney insists that the state would be better off if all this revenue goes toward its struggling pension system. According to Beshear, this would enable Kentucky to pour more funds into other spheres like health care and educations.
The latest efforts at bringing legal sports betting to the Bluegrass State failed for a third consecutive year in 2019. House Bill 175 was sponsored by State Representative Adam Koenig from Northern Kentucky and needed the votes of 60 out of 100 members of the House. According to Koenig, the bill failed due to the efforts of influential religious groups that strongly opposed the idea of gambling legalization.