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Agreement Reached on KY Gaming Amendment

Gov. Steve Beshear said efforts on a constitutional change are moving forward.

The parameters of a constitutional amendment on casino-style gambling in Kentucky have been agreed upon, and legislation will be introduced soon, the governor’s office said Jan. 25.

In a statement, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, who has said expanded gambling legislation will be a priority for the 2012 General Assembly session, indicated the process is moving forward. He has worked on the bill with Republican Sen. Damon Thayer, a point man for racing-related bills in the Senate.

“Sen. Thayer and I have agreed on language for the bill, which will be introduced in the Senate very soon,” Beshear said. “We will spend the next few days laying the groundwork for its introduction.

“We are hopeful that our senators will give this bill the full consideration it deserves, since repeated polls show that Kentuckians are demanding an opportunity to vote on this issue.”

Thayer, who chairs the Senate State and Local Government Committee, which would hear the bill, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment the afternoon of Jan. 25. He has said, however, his objective is to raise revenue for purses and breed development programs in Kentucky.

Officials haven’t released any information on the scope of the bill. It remains to be seen whether it will be a casino-at-racetracks-only measure or one that calls for some non-track casinos. If the bill were to pass the General Assembly and be approved in a statewide vote in November, enabling legislation including revenue splits would need to be approved by lawmakers.