Andy Beshear has jumped on the campaign trail announcing that if elected governor of Kentucky, he will do his best to legalize sports betting and help heal up the state’s budgetary woes.
Beshear Promises to Legalize Sports Betting if Elected
Democrat’s Governor candidate Andy Beshear Jr. has announced plans to make it possible for sports betting and commercial casinos to be part of the Kentucky’s economic landscape. If elected, Beshear, whose father also attempted to help online casinos and betting facilities become legal before he left office in 2015, promises to revitalize the segment and raise money for the state’s coffers.
Beshear proposes a tax policy which will allow public servants’ pension funding system to be backed up by revenue generated from all betting agencies and online casinos. The money will be used to help teachers, police officers, firefighters and social workers retire.
In addition, Beshear hopes that any extra revenue brought in this way could help other public services, such as health clinics. More importantly, he hopes that regular Kentucky residents would not have to pay higher taxes as a result of his proposal to legalize the gambling industry and tax it.
To this date, the only form of gambling allowed in KY is pari-mutuel horse and dog race wagers. However, Beshear has plans to expand. He would need to act quickly though, as Indiana, Illinois and West Virginia are already in the thick of the sports betting game, with IN and WV already offering sports wagers.
Delays leave Kentucky at a disadvantage position as more people will just prefer to jump state borders and go to the newly-emerged sports betting opportunities across the state’s line. This was precisely one of the arguments Beshear made.
Because of the emerging of new casino properties as well as sports betting facilities, Kentucky was already losing jobs and income.
“Estimates show that Kentucky loses over $500 million in tax revenue a year to neighboring states and less than ten casinos could generate over $1.7 billion in economic activity in their first year. Indiana alone consistently nets hundreds of millions of Dollars in revenue every year.”
Beshear didn’t hesitate to point out that the efforts of Governor Matt Bevin, the current KY Gov, have not been enough to help the state secure itself a profitable sector that could help it patch up holes in its social security system.
Like Father, Like Son
Meanwhile, other lawmakers haven’t sat idly by, with Julian Carroll, a former governor, trying to pre-file a sports betting bill for the 2020 legislative session. Carroll is not trying for the first time either. He pushed for a sports betting expansion in both the 2018 and 2019 legislative sessions, but his efforts have so far been futile.
Former Gov. Steve Beshear, Andy Beshear’s father, was one of the staunchest supporters of the idea that legalizing sports betting would help heal KY’s budget problems. However, during his stint as governor, Beshear Sr. failed to see enough support behind his proposal.