01/21/2010 1:00AM

Kentucky gambling bill fails


A bill to amend Kentucky's constitution before allowing expanded gaming in the state has been defeated in the state's Senate.

The measure, sponsored by Senate president David Williams, a Republican, failed to gain passage when only 21 senators voted in favor on Thursday. It would have required 23 favorable votes to pass. The vote was along party lines, with 20 Republicans voting in favor of the measure and 16 Democrats opposed; one Independent sided with the Republicans.

The bill, Senate Bill 2, had passed the Senate's Committee on State and Local Government on Wednesday.

Specifically, it would have mandated that the expansion of gambling requires an amendment to the state's constitution that would then have to be submitted to voters for approval or disapproval.

Williams has opposed efforts by Democratic Governor Steve Beshear to bring additional gambling to Kentucky's racetracks.

A second bill introduced by Sen. Damon Thayer, also a Republican, calls for a constitutional amendment to allow video lottery terminals at racetracks. That bill remains in the Senate's Committee on State and Local Government. A third measure, sponsored by a Democrat, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, authorizes VLTs at tracks without an amendment or referendum. It currently is in the House Committee on Licensing and Occupations.