Casino gaming: One potential solution to Kentucky's pension crisis

Updated: Feb. 4, 2018 at 9:00 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - State Senator Morgan McGarvey described Kentucky's budget shortfall in a few short words: "This budget is dire. "

Those words have been echoed by politicians in both parties in Frankfort.

>> PREVIOUS STORIES: Bill would allow casino gaming in Kentucky, fund pensions if approved

Now, McGarvey hopes to push through a bill that would let Kentucky voters decide on legalizing gaming to help pay the bills. The big bill is the state's pension liability, underfunded by as much as sixty billion dollars in coming years, according to Governor Matt Bevin.

McGarvey believes certain forms of casino gambling would raise up to two hundred fifty million dollars a year. He told WAVE 3 News on Sunday Morning Politics that the legislature doesn't have enough money to do what Kentuckians need and also fund the pension. His proposal, "A constitutional amendment, that says are you for gaming, yes or no?"

Former Jefferson County GOP chair Bill Stone agrees gaming would help but says, "Being late and slow is a non-partisan screwup."

Stone would like to see, "something different. Let's have betting on football, basketball and baseball, let small grocery stores become legal bookmakers." McGarvey agreed that sports betting would add even more revenue to help pay down pension debt.

He's working on his gaming bill with some Republicans, including Senator Julie Raque Adams of Louisville. If it somehow makes it through in Frankfort, it could be on the ballot statewide.

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