"For nearly 15 years, the issue has been discussed, debated and yet, deferred. Today, I am taking action and responding to the wishes of the vast majority of Kentuckians by sending to the General Assembly legislation that will give our citizens the opportunity to do as they have demanded - let their voice be heard on whether or not to change the state's constitution to have limited expanded gaming," he said.
The proposed amendment limits the creation of expanded gaming facilities to up to seven licenses for horse racing, and up to five free-standing gaming facilities with the approval of voters in five cities or counties where the proposed casino would be located. Those counties include Daviess, Kenton or Campbell, Boyd or Greenup, Christian, and either Laurel or Whitely.
"We face a financial crisis in this state that is slowly destroying our ability to educate, protect and take care of our people," Beshear said. "We no longer have the financial ability to fund the programs we should have in order to meet those needs. Nor do we have the ability to look into the future and begin to build those opportunities to restore Kentucky's economic viability.
"By allowing our fellow Kentuckians to vote on this issue, we are sending a clear message that we are joining with them in finding other ways in which to address this financial crisis."
Beshear said the fiscal impact of the proposed gaming legislation indicated total receipts for fiscal year 2009 from facility application and license fees would be about $500 million. Also, the estimated gaming receipts for 2010 would be about $482 million, with a majority of those receipts from license fees and wagering taxes.
"If the people of Kentucky vote yes for limited expanded gaming, we strongly believe that the annual estimated fiscal impact at full legislation would be approximately $600 million," he said.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.