Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mayor Abramson on expanded gaming

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson recently spoke to the Frankfort Rotary Club and an issue that came up was the highly controversial issue of expanded gaming.
Abramson did discuss the issue of providing expanded opportunities for gambling in Kentucky. A member of the audience asked Abramson what kind of social and economic impact the Indiana-based riverboat casinos have had upon Louisville. Abramson said he had not seen any negative social effects, but said the casinos were draining much-needed tax-dollars out of Kentucky.

"All the roads in Indiana have been paved, and all the schools have been rebuilt with Kentucky dollars," he said. "We are the big losers."

When he has attended special events at the casino, Abramson said, 80 percent of the cars in the parking lot have displayed Kentucky license plates. He said he would support any proposal that would help keep the gambling revenues in Kentucky.

"I don't care if its downtown or at the racetracks or at a casino," Abramson said. "Whatever passes is the way it should be."

At least one bill has been filed in the Kentucky Senate that would amend the Constitution and provide for additional gambling opportunities. However, Abramson said the issue will probably not be a hot topic during the short legislative session, which reconvenes in February.

"There's just not enough momentum," he said. "It would take a full session to really roll out the vote the people in Kentucky would have to undertake."

Although the gambling issue is very relevant to county governments along the Ohio River, Abramson said it would be difficult to convey the relevancy to residents further inland. He said they don't see every day how the casino revenues are leaving Kentucky and benefiting communities in other states.

"We have to carry the message to them," Abramson said.
This is an important issue that should not be taken lightly. I hate that Kentucky is losing out on increased revenues because people thing gaming is wrong. There's nothing wrong with it in my opinion. You have your moderate gamblers and then you have the ones with an addiction. If done correctly, Kentucky will benefit from expanded gaming. I suggest you contact your state senators and representatives and ask them to vote in favor of House Bill 27 and Senate Bills 16 and 17.

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