Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear wants lawmakers to debate gaming expansion as a way of resolving impending budget shortfall.
The governor added a measure to the agenda of a special legislative session that will begin June 15 that would place video lottery terminals (VLTs) inside the state’s racetracks.
The idea faces uncertainty in both of the state’s houses. One anti-casino group told Kentucky media it would file a lawsuit if the proposal gains approval without a constitutional amendment.
The leader of the state senate unveiled an alternative plan for a 10 percent surcharge on lottery tickets, sales taxes on horse supplies and products, and a 1.5 percent tax on out-of-state wagering.
Beshear is undeterred. He said immediate gaming expansion is necessary.
"Kentucky’s horse industry, a living, breathing part of our cultural heritage and one of our strongest, most precious commodities abroad, is in a state of crisis," Beshear said at a news conference. "Some even say it’s dying."
The VLTs would be regulated by the Kentucky Lottery Corp.
Beshear isn’t sure if the plan will make through the legislature. Kentucky is facing a budget deficit of almost $1 billion for fiscal year 2010, which begins July 1.