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KY Senate votes down bill for expanded gaming

February 23, 2012

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After nearly two hours of debate which began late Thursday afternoon (Feb. 23), the Kentucky state Senate voted down a bill that called for a November referendum on the issue of expanded gambling. The bill received 16 "aye" votes, with 23 needed to pass a constitutional amendment in the Senate. There were 21 "nay" votes. The day before the bill had passed a Senate subcommittee and moved to the floor of the Senate.
Several senators expected to vote "yes" changed their votes. Many of the legislators opposing the bill, which would have permitted up to seven casinos in the state but did not guarantee any racetrack a casino license, spoke at length about their resasons. Some cited moral reasons while others called expanded gaming poor public policy.
Senate member Alice Forgy Kerr, a Republican who represents Lexington, used the old adage parents often give to their children, saying that although other states have approved casino gambling, "if everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?"
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Damon Thayer, who once worked at Turfway Park and has been actively involved with the horse industry. Thayer urged his fellow Senators to give the people of Kentucky the opportunity to have their say on casino gambling.
"'m not a strong advocate of casinos,” Thayer said during the debate. "I don't go to casinos, and I don't really like them. I'm a horse racing guy... I wish as the sponsor of this bill to put this issue to rest once and for all. I trust the people of the Commonwealth.” (harnessracing.com)

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