Ky. Wins co-chair talks economic impact, growing support for gaming


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on February 27, 2014 at 7:06 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 3 at 3:35 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- While Kentucky politicians continue to consider two expanded gaming bills in this legislative session more details are emerging about why. If approved, a downtown site has growing support, even from Churchill Downs.

Jonathan Blue the co-chair of Kentucky Wins, a grassroots pro-casino organization, is hoping logic will prevail as legislators debate gaming bills this session.

"We are giving up $500 million a year for 500 feet across the river. It just doesn't make any sense to me," Blue said.

With casinos surrounding Kentucky, Blue said that money is flying across the river.

"If this were Ford, if this were UPS, if this were another Fortune 500 company coming to Louisville, which basically is. We would be bending over backwards giving tax incentives to something like that," Blue said.

Blue said it’s a brand new industry. Mayor Greg Fischer recently revealed Churchill officials indicated they would prefer a downtown casino rather than the racetrack location if the measure is approved.

"It would add to the energy of downtown, adds to walkability for conventioneers that are here and tourists as well. So I think it would be a wonderful location," Mayor Greg Fischer said.

Kevin Flanery, Churchill Downs racetrack president released this statement.

"Should we be given an opportunity for a Louisville casino, we would choose a location that was best for the customer, the city, the state and Churchill Downs. And if downtown should be the right location, we are fine with that."

Kentucky Wins estimates that the economic impact would be huge. We are talking about an estimated 10,000 jobs and $500 million the first year alone.

"Let the people express what they want on this. If it gets voted down, it gets voted down. But 87 percent want the right to vote on this issue so let's put it on the ballot," Blue said.