gambling

Baishampayan Ghose/Creative Commons

Gov. Andy Beshear is trying to rally support for a bill that would legalize sports betting in Kentucky as the proposal continues to languish in the Republican-led state House of Representatives.

Supporters say the proposal would raise about $22 million per year in revenue for the state, which has struggled to make enough money to cover budgeted expenses in recent years.

Beshear held a press conference on Thursday as a show of force for the bill, with supporters advocating how the measure could raise funds for services like education, pensions and healthcare.

Baishampayan Ghose/Creative Commons

A legislative committee has unanimously approved a bill that would legalize sports betting in Kentucky, sending it to be considered by the state House of Representatives.

The bill would also regulate fantasy sports and online poker. Supporters say it would raise $22.5 million per year as the state faces stark financial problems.

Rep. Al Gentry, a Democrat from Louisville and one of the bill’s sponsors, said the measure isn’t going to solve all the state’s problems but it’s a good first step.

 


J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear participated in another televised debate Saturday night ahead of the Nov. 5 gubernatorial election.

Bevin and Beshear once again illustrated their sharp differences on issues like abortion, health care, taxes, and whether to legalize casino gambling to try and bring in more revenue for the state.

At one point Beshear criticized Bevin for making inflammatory statements like his claim from over the summer that casino gambling leads to suicide.

Bevin denied ever making the comment.

 


Public Domain

Democrat Andy Beshear's push to legalize casino gambling in Kentucky is facing strong resistance from two leading Republican lawmakers, including one who supported the idea previously.

Beshear, who is running for governor, says Kentucky could reap $500 million-plus in yearly revenue by allowing expanded gambling. He wants the money to support public pension systems.

Senate President Robert Stivers and Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said Thursday that the proposal would be "dead on arrival" in the Republican-dominated Senate.

J. Tyler Franklin

In a radio interview Wednesday morning, Gov. Matt Bevin claimed that “every night somewhere in America” someone dies by suicide in a casino.

Bevin was arguing against a proposal to legalize casino gambling in Kentucky, which is supported by his opponent in this year’s race for governor, Andy Beshear.

Bevin made the comment during an interview on WKDZ in Cadiz.

 


Public Domain

When gamblers bet at the chirping, neon-glowing machines that stretch across Kentucky’s gambling parlors, they depend on a state commission to ensure they’re winning — or losing — fair and square.

The commission that oversees gambling depends on a consulting firm for advice about ensuring these systems, known as “historical horse racing” terminals, run legally and accurately. But when it comes to testing machines, records show the state’s regulatory commission let the tracks themselves fund and oversee the consultant’s work.


Kentucky Downs

Kentucky Downs is being sold and its new owners are pledging improvements and expansions at the Simpson County horse-racing track.

Kentucky Racing Acquisition, LLC has agreed to purchase the track from parent company Kentucky Downs Partners, the investment group that has owned the venue since 2007. 

KRA was co-founded by Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone, both well-known within the horse racing and casino gaming industries.  Winchell oversees Winchell Thoroughbreds, his family’s racing and breeding operation in Lexington.  Falcone brings financial and gaming experience to Kentucky Downs.

Thinkstock

The nation’s largest professional sports organizations are registering in Kentucky for the first time following a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. 

The high court in May ruled that a federal gambling statute violated the U.S. Constitution and cleared the way for individual states to decide on sports betting. 

The National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, and the PGA Tour have all registered to lobby during the 2019 General Assembly.

Public Domain

On Monday, a court will hear arguments over the legality of some electronic betting machines that base outcomes on horse races that have already taken place. Specifically, the arguments will deal with machines that use cartoon representations of the historical horse races (machines that use video of horse races are being dealt with in a separate lawsuit).

The Family Foundation of Kentucky has for years argued that both types of machines are illegal and technically just slot machines.

Kent Ostrander, executive director of the Kentucky Family Foundation, says that the cartoon machines — made by Encore Gaming — are required by state policy to use a video of the races.

“Not a video representation, not a cartoon, not a simulation, but an actual video of a horse race,” Ostrander said. “Since it doesn’t meet that standard, then it should be tossed out and they need to modify their game if they can.”

Flickr/Creative Commons/Adrian Sampson

State legislators are once again being called upon to allow casino gambling in Kentucky as a way to pump revenue into the ailing pension systems for public employees.

Expanded gaming has been pushed during legislative sessions for years as an answer to Kentucky’s financial woes, but it’s never gotten enough traction to pass.

That doesn’t mean the supporters will stop pushing. On Tuesday, Greater Louisville Inc. announced its support for a bill proposed by two Louisville state senators. In a news release, GLI noted that Kentucky loses tax revenue each year to casinos in bordering states.

“These are dollars that could be going toward our state deficit and our significant pension obligations,” GLI President Kent Oyler said in the news release.

Here’s what you should know about the new gambling bill:

Keeneland, Red Mile Approved For Instant Racing

Apr 3, 2014

Keeneland Race Course and The Red Mile have been approved for instant racing and plan to open facilities in July 2015. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission unanimously approved the requests Wednesday.

Keeneland and Red Mile officials expect to reach similar levels of wagering as the only other sites in Kentucky that offer instant racing, Kentucky Downs in Franklin and Ellis Park in Henderson. They collectively take in about $30 million in wagering a month, with Kentucky Downs alone averaging about $1 million a day.

Approval is pending agreements with horsemen to determine how much revenue they'll receive.

Keeneland expects to build a 50,000 square foot parlor and install 600 terminals, while The Red Mile wants to build a 40,000 square foot parlor onto its grandstand and install 500 machines.

Kevin Willis

A federal judge in Texas has ruled against Churchill Down Incorporated in a challenge over online gambling laws.

The Louisville-based company was hoping the judge would throw out a Texas law that bans internet gambling offered by the racetrack’s website.

The Courier-Journal reports the Texas  Racing Commission has recently started to enforce a law requiring that all gambling on horse racing be done in person at the racetrack. The law was later revised by Texas authorities to explicitly outlaw online wagering.

Churchill claimed the “in person” part of the law was a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause. But the Texas judge rejected that argument, saying that Churchill Downs and other racetracks can reach gamblers in the Lonestar State through simulcasting—something that is permitted under Texas law.

Churchill started Twinspires.com in 2007 in order to take bets online and over the phone.

For the first time, the state has official figures on how much money Kentuckians bet online or over the phone on horse races that take place in the commonwealth. State Senator Damon Thayer says about $47 million was wagered in the first half of the year.

Supporters of instant racing in Kentucky are once again trying to take their case to the state supreme court. Instant racing games allow players to wager on previously-run horse races using slot-machine like-devices. The Franklin Circuit Court previously ruled that the games are legal, but an appeals court sent the decision back, saying  the anti-gambling Family Foundation should've been allowed to gather evidence in the case.

The owner of Ellis Park in Henderson says he hopes to expand the horse track’s gambling options by Labor Day. Ron Geary wants to move ahead with plans to install instant racing machines, despite an ongoing lawsuit over the legality of those games in Kentucky.

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