House Speaker Stumbo places expanded gambling back on the table - WDRB 41 Louisville News

House Speaker Stumbo places expanded gambling back on the table

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- It is still considered a long shot, but a big supporter of casino gambling in Kentucky is once again putting his chips on the table.

Expanded gambling was thought to be a dead issue at the Capitol, but now House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) has filed a bill in an attempt to revive it.

Stumbo's proposal, HB 300, calls for six casinos, located in counties with populations of 85,000 or more and that have voted to allow them.

“I was just trying to think how we could move that issue off dead center,” said Stumbo.

Here's how Stumbo's bill divides casino tax dollars:

Sixty-percent would go to elementary and secondary education; 30% to universities and colleges; and 10% to boost purses at racetracks.

“I think people want to see something done on it, and I can't think of a better place to put the money than education,” he said.

But unlike past proposals, Stumbo's bill does not guarantee casino licenses to the state's race tracks. Instead, the Kentucky Lottery would be in charge.

“The lottery would oversee that. The lottery would choose the vendors, just like it chooses its vendors now,” said Stumbo.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) says he was caught off-guard by Stumbo's proposal.

Thayer has supported past efforts to put casinos to a statewide vote, but he believes the odds are against this bill.

“The horse industry really isn't pushing it very strongly anymore. So I just think, with very little time in a short session, and some other big issues, this one just doesn't have much momentum right now,” said Thayer.

Stumbo says he's realistic about the bill's prospects.

“I don't know if it gets a vote this year or not. Obviously, it can't go on the ballot until next year. But I think it's worthy of some discussion,” he said.

The bottom line: expanded gambling may be back as an issue, but no one is putting money on its chances of success.

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