Protest doesn't stop progress on Kentucky's casino bill - News, Weather & Sports

Protest doesn't stop progress on Kentucky's casino bill


By Mark Schnyder

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) -- As Kentucky lawmakers begin to tackle Gov. Beshear's casino legislation, opponents are trying to drop the proposal for a loss. WAVE 3's Mark Schnyder reports that the political and public battle on casinos is well underway in Frankfort.

A growing group of mothers is leading the fight against casinos. They say out-of-control gambling destroys families and they're not happy. And as rally organizer put it, "If momma's not happy, nobody's happy."

"I've heard many say people are going to do it anyway, we don't have any control over or should we care if someone wants to destroy themselves," says activist Roxanne Hack.

These are some angry mothers.

"I do not want my grandchildren to grow up in a culture where their government is encouraging its citizens to amuse themselves to financial destitution," says Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper of the Kentucky Council of Churches.

The Women Against Gambling Expansion say there's a price to pay for the half-a-billion dollars a year casinos would bring Kentucky and it's not worth it.

"What price do we pay on broken hearts, on divorce, on suicide on lost homes?" asks Kemper rhetorically.

Besides rallying in the rotunda, these women and some men are writing letters to their lawmakers, asking them to keep a constitutional amendment on casino gambling from ever getting to Kentucky voters.

Meantime, lawmakers on the gaming committee are proposing changes to the casino bill.  Instead of up to 12 casinos with as many as seven horse tracks suggested by Gov. Beshear, House lawmakers are recommending up  to nine casinos with as many as five at horse tracks.  Bottom line, work on this bill is moving forward.

"All in all the majority of individuals in my district want the right to vote on gaming," says Rep. Arnold Simpson of Kenton in northern Kentucky.

Some of those angry mothers attended that committee meeting. They plan to be very visible as they make their case to stop casinos before lawmakers possibly give voters the chance to decide for themselves.

Online Reporter:  Mark Schnyder

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway