Kentucky Governor Paul Patton.

Kentucky Governor Paul Patton.


Kentucky Governor: Consider Expanded Gambling

Expanded gambling is preferable to raising taxes to help balance Kentucky's budget, Gov. Paul Patton said Aug. 5 during a news conference that kicked off Responsible Gaming Education Week.

The comments have again fueled speculation that legislation to authorize electronic gaming devices at racetracks could resurface. The bill cleared a House committee earlier this year but failed to come up for vote before the full House or Senate.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Patton was asked if expanded gambling should be given the same weight as tax increases. "Probably, preferably," the governor said.

Meanwhile, Senate president David Williams, who does not support expanded gambling, said there isn't much support in the Senate for the proposal, and even less support for tax hikes.

If there is a special session called to address funding mechanisms for the state budget, it probably wouldn't occur until after the November election. But Patton said to "stay tuned" in the next several weeks as officials look at the financial picture.

Churchill Downs Inc. president Tom Meeker, who was on hand for the Responsible Gaming Education Week press conference, said racetracks continue to support the concept of alternative gaming.