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Kentucky Again Considering Las Vegas-Style Casinos

Proposal On Table Would Let Voters Decide On Issue


A proposal was introduced Tuesday that, if successful, would lead to Kentuckians voting in November on whether or not to allow casinos in the state. The move would require an amendment to Kentucky’s constitution.

There was some momentum for a bill last year, but it didn’t end up gaining traction. Casinos have been discussed for 17 straight legislative sessions, with opponents always being able to kill any measure up for debate.

Under this year’s proposal, 90 percent of casino tax revenue would help shore up the state’s pension system, while the remaining funds would aid the horse racing industry.

According to, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin in the past has said that he is opposed to casino-style gambling, but the governor wouldn’t need to support the plan if the referendum is successful. The legislature would need to hash out the logistics of bringing commercial casinos to the state, should voters sign off on the idea.

While Kentucky lawmakers continue to discuss casinos, the state is also pursuing a $870 million judgement against PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site. Kentucky alleges that the site illegally did business with residents between 2006 and 2011. PokerStars’ parent company, which is appealing the ruling, said that the damages award “is notable only for its absurdity.”

A federal court in Illinois recently dismissed a nearly identical case against PokerStars. That court found that the plantiffs’ case had no standing because PokerStars facilitated the games. In other words, the players didn’t lose money to PokerStars, but rather other customers. The players in that case also weren’t the ones claiming gambling losses and the law trying to be used is centuries old and comes from an anti-gambling era in Illinois.

Tags: Kentucky