02/11/2014 2:36PM

Kentucky casino bill unlikely to be considered in 2014


LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Republican leadership of the Kentucky state Senate will not consider a bill to authorize casino gambling in the state unless the Democratic-controlled House passes a bill first, the Senate majority leader said after meeting with his Republican counterparts Monday night.

A bill authorizing casino gambling had little chance this year to pass in either house of the state legislature because of concerns by legislators of both parties over the potential fallout from support of a bill during an election year. Polls have shown that Kentucky is about evenly divided over the issue, but opponents are considered to be far more capable of mobilizing voters than supporters.

Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer said after the Monday night conference of Republican legislators that supporters did not have the votes to pass a bill in the Senate. Last year, the Senate, by a vote of 21-16, rejected a bill calling for a constitutional amendment asking Kentucky voters to approve casinos. Because the bill would amend the constitution, it fell well short of the 23 votes needed to pass.

The House, meanwhile, has never brought a casino bill to the floor for a vote, despite 10 years of efforts by supporters to get a bill passed. Last year’s bill was brought to the Senate floor by Thayer and Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat.