WAVE 3 Editorial, January 17, 2012: Gambling Expansion

By Ken Selvaggi
WAVE 3 Vice President and General Manager

Indiana opened casinos 15 years ago. State and local government revenue received in taxes on these casinos in Indiana just topped the $10 billion mark.

Indiana is one of 39 states with casinos. Pennsylvania ranked first in tax revenues from casino gambling in 2010, taking in $1.3 billion. Indiana ranked second in tax revenue collection from casinos that year with 875 million and you can bet some of that money came from Kentuckians.

In the past five years, Pennsylvania has allotted over a billion dollars in casino tax revenue to the state's horse racing industry. Kentucky's signature industry needs help as on-track wagering has been declining for several years.

It is time for the Kentucky legislature to approve a bill to allow a vote of the people of the Commonwealth on a constitutional amendment to permit expanded gambling. The particulars of the legislation will be key to getting it passed, but the people of the Commonwealth deserve an opportunity to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down this year – in the November presidential election when turnout should be high. We encourage state legislators to give the voters that chance.

Kentuckians should have some say in how to address revenue shortfalls. The added revenue is needed and the alternative of raising it through tax hikes is not very attractive.

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