Nemes files two expanding gambling bills, would require two votes for casinos in Ky.

09/08/2011 03:05 PM

Republican state Rep. Mike Nemes followed through on a promise, pre-filing two bills that would deal with expanded gambling in the 2012 legislative session.

Nemes, a freshman legislator from south Louisville, told Pure Politics a month ago that he would “make sure” that gambling was be discussed in the 2012 session. But he wouldn’t talk details of his plans.

But his pre-filed bills show Nemes is approaching the issue two-fold, first with a constitutional amendment that would allow all statewide voters to approve expanded gambling and a second bill that would allow counties to hold a second vote on gambling.

For expanded gambling to be implemented, it would need to pass a statewide vote, then an individual county, like Jefferson, would then have to pass it county wide.

If passed, racetracks like Keeneland or Churchill Downs would then be given an option for slots-only gambling. But they would also be able to to participate in an open bid for a full casino, Nemes said.

He said he would leave it to counties to have “common sense” about the number of casinos in each county. Nemes said he thinks one per county would be enough.

Gambling has been a controversial issue in the General Assembly since 2007, when Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear made it the major part of his platform. Gambling bills have twice died in the Senate being passed in the House.

Nemes told Pure Politics he hopes his bill can pass because it’s a “clean bill” without any co-sponsors, and without money already being allocated by expected revenues.

Not having co-sponsors doesn’t mean the bill doesn’t have support, Nemes said. He said he plans to have some of his peers sign on later.

The bills also create the Kentucky Gaming Commission and would charge $3 per customer as an admission fee to a casino. One dollar of that fee would be given to the county government, while the other two dollars would be put into the General Fund.

-Reporting and video production by Kenny Colston

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