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No dice! Beshear expects no action on casino bill in 2014

by Joe Arnold


Posted on March 25, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 26 at 8:01 AM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Complaining that pro-casino forces can't get their act together, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says he does not expect any action on expanded gambling by the General Assembly this year.

"The industry can't get it's act together and agree upon one approach," Beshear told WHAS11.  "And so my guess is that we're not going to see any action on it this session."

The statewide coalition formed to boost expanding gambling in the 2014 session stopped short of conceding defeat.

"The General Assembly’s session is nearly over but our campaign is by no means complete," concluded a statement from Kentucky Wins!.

The group's leaders predicted a better outcome this year, bolstered by a bipartisan team and grassroots support, including more than 75-thousand "likes" on its Facebook page.

Beshear, however, said the outcome looks familiar.

"I've been working on that issue now for six years, and this session it has run into the same issues that it has run into before," Beshear said.  "And that is, even among those who favor some type of expanded gaming, you can't get them all on the same page of which avenue to take."

"I thought it was telling the other day when they had a rally and had 35 or 36 legislators there all in support of expanded gambling, but after it was over with, about five or six had different views of what ought to happen," Beshear continued.  "And that's what we've run into it seems like every year."

In this election year, House speaker Greg Stumbo has insisted that a gambling bill start in the Senate.  The sponsor of the Senate's gambling bill, Sen. Dan Seum (R-Fairdale) said he's still a couple of votes short.

Seum, the Senate Majority Caucus Chair, complained that pro-gambling advocates failed to match the lobbying intensity of anti-gambling forces.

"I was hoping the Kentucky Chamber and Greater Louisville Inc and our tourism people would all get in play here and be part of the process of passing that," Seum told WHAS11.  "But unfortunately they have been pretty much a no show here in Frankfort."

In a statement to WHAS11, a Greater Louisville Inc spokeswoman said GLI has worked to help the cause.

"Nobody has worked harder in Frankfort on the expanding gaming issue than Senator Dan Seum," said Susan Overton, GLI Vice-President.  "Greater Louisville Inc. members and leaders have worked with the various coalitions to support this legislation and push for action in the General Assembly."

"It's been rather lonely," Seum said, singling out KEEP, the Kentucky Equine Education Project, a group formed to boost Kentucky's horse economy.

In its statement, Kentucky Wins! disagreed.

“The business community along with the KY Chamber of Commerce, Greater Louisville Inc., and many statewide organizations have been excellent partners in our campaign to let the people decide on expanded gaming," the statement read.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Kentucky Chamber said it has been a longtime supporter of the expanding gaming effort, its chairwoman stood at Seum's side for a gaming rally and the Chamber has been "as active as possible on the issue, but unfortunately was not able to muster the support this time."