Seum says half the state Senate would support constitutional amendment on gambling

08/09/2011 07:50 PM

State Sen. Dan Seum, the Republican caucus chairman, said the Senate is four votes shy of giving the go-ahead to a constitutional amendment that would allow expanded gambling in Kentucky.

“At one point in time during the last session we had about 19 that were willing to do that,” Seum said on Tuesday’s Pure Politics. “We’re still struggling to get the other four.”

It takes 23 yes votes to pass a constitutional amendment out of the 38-member state Senate. And it would require two-thirds approval in the 100-member House before going to voters for final approval.

“We have individuals on both sides of that fence that cannot and will not vote for expanded gambling. And that has a lot to do with that thing called the Bible belt,” Seum said. “I think that will change. It’s coming.”

The problem, as he sees it, is whether gambling can be expanded without giving Kentucky’s racetracks a monopoly on gambling in the state. He added that if Gov. Steve Beshear should win re-election in November, the governor would have to get more involving in pushing for it.

Expanded gambling is one area in which Seum disagrees with Senate President David Williams, the Republican nominee for governor. Seum favors letting the voters decide on the issue, while Williams opposes any form of allowing expanded gambling.

Among the candidates for governor, Williams would work better with the state legislature because he spent years honing relationships there, and has spent the last 10 years as president, Seum said. Seum said Beshear hasn’t actively courted lawmakers.

“The gaming issue, for instance. I’m still waiting for somebody, anybody from his staff and a one of his campaign promises that he would file or have passed or try to pass legislation that put gambling… I’m still waiting for the first person from his office to walk in my office to poll me on where my caucus stands,” Seum said.


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