Best chance for 'new revenues' would be a constitutional amendent allowing casinos, House Speaker says

11/19/2013 10:42 PM

House Speaker Greg Stumbo has predicted a “destructive budget” in the next session. And he declared tax reform a non-starter.

But he said there could be a chance for a “simple constitutional amendment” to allow casino gambling — if it leaves all the details of licensing to a separate bill and if it starts in the Senate. That, he said, could help bring in some extra money that Stumbo says is needed for education and social services.

“I think the likelihood of new revenues would come from expanded gaming in some form or fashion,” Stumbo said.

In the last three years, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware have either allowed or expanded casino operations. Stumbo acknowledged that the economic impact would have been greater a decade ago. But he said he believes allowing casinos would still help the state’s bottom line.

“All you have to do is drive through one of these casino’s parking lots,” Stumbo said. “Every other car or every car for a long ways is a Kentucky license plate. So yeah, I think if we had those opportunities here a lot of those folks would stay in Kentucky.”

But Gov. Steve Beshear, who campaigned in 2007 on allowing Kentuckians to vote on a constitutional amendment on casinos, has not approached Stumbo about a specific proposal.

(Coming on Wednesday: Hints about forthcoming legislation and the strategy one pro-casino group is taking).

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