State Association Endorses KEEP Revenue and Gaming Plan

Edited press release

An organization representing county judge/executives throughout Kentucky has endorsed racetrack casino legislation offered by the Kentucky Equine Education Project and currently in the House Licensing and Occupations Committee.

The Kentucky County Judge/Executive Association represents members in all 120 counties.

"The majority of county judge/executives have endorsed the concept of expanded gaming as long as a portion of the proceeds is returned to all local governments," said Vince Lang, executive director of KCJEA. "We feel this is a business decision. Gambling is already legal in Kentucky via horse racing, the lottery, or charitable gaming.

"It is well documented that Kentuckians are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in neighboring states that have casino gaming. We need to capture these dollars and fund essential programs here in the commonwealth."

The legislation earmarks specific funds to be returned to all local governments and dedicates revenue to go back to counties without casinos for economic development. Collectively, about $98 million a year would go back to local governments.

"Under the KEEP plan, we advocate monies going to all counties regardless of where the casino operations are located," KEEP executive director Jim Navolio said. "This is an equity issue, and we feel it is only fair for all counties to receive the benefits of gaming. We are pleased to add the KCJEA to our list of partners who supports this bill, and we look forward to working with them during the legislative process."

The KEEP legislation calls for a constitutional amendment on casino gambling at racetracks only, and dedicated revenue for state programs. Officials and legislators are attempting to reach a compromise that would include some non-racetrack locations.