Governor Beshear says no to horsemen, or does he?

Louisville, KY –  Governor Beshear says no to horsemen, or does he? That is the question based on the latest in the casino gambling arguments. On Thursday Governor Beshear stated that he may propose a casino amendment that will not guarantee the racetracks licenses or revenues. He stated he felt that may be the only way to get it through the legislature.

But then he went further.

But first, Beshear said, he must talk with the horse industry “to see whether they can get their act together to support some type of approach like this.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Governor Beshear may have inadvertently let the cat out of the bag by the stating that “the horse industry may have to live without any protections to get an amendment through the legislature, being content instead with his pledge to protect the industry when enabling legislation is written once an amendment is approved.”

And that is where the rubber meets the road. Bait and switch anyone?

It is becoming apparent to many, including myself, that the horsemen will get the protection they want when casino gambling is approved. Make no mistake folks it will be approved. Eventually.

The problem however has always been at what cost.

The real losers in all of this has been, and will continue to be, the charities throughout the Commonwealth. You can read more about that here and here.

The only reason casino gambling has not been passed to date, or at least put on a ballot for consideration by Kentucky voters, has always been and will continue to be because no one has finalized who gets the money yet.

There is not some altruistic motive to keep casinos out of Kentucky out of some moral obligation, there never has been. Instead it has been a shell game of greed and showmanship pure and simple.

When the Governor is on board to exclude the racetracks so we can finally move forward on this issue and then pledges to protect the horse industry after the fact it should send resounding alarm bells out to anyone who truly cares.

Get it passed and work out the details later has never worked in government. It most certainly will not now in a contentious issue such as casino gambling.

When you consider that new legislation is not even necessary to enact casino gambling in Kentucky, 2010’s SB 222 was evidence of that but the powers that be refused to vote on it, then we have a clear indicator of just what is really going on.

The facts are that Churchill Downs itself makes millions in profits each year. They pay bonuses because they are profitable. They continue trying to put the fear in us that we will lose our signature Kentucky Derby because they are poor, if they don’t get a casino.

Spare us.

As they say the devil is in the details. If we are still going to pursue casino gambling, as we should in my opinion, then we must know the details first. Period.

If you truly want casino gambling that is fair to all business in Kentucky then revisit SB 222 from 2010 sponsored by Senator Perry Clark.

If you want to save charities and give them the opportunity to provide for themselves as they have historically done then you need to jump on board and not allow the backdoor deals that will surely be made that will put them out of business.

Remember if the charities cannot provide for themselves they still have to provide. When they lose their means of self survival ten they turn to the one place they have to. Our local governments whose budgets are already strained to the breaking point.

They will be forced, as ElderServe was thanks to unfair business mandates by the State Charitable Gaming rules, to go to your Metro Council and beg for money. That money that they earned on their own through Bingo’s, raffles, Monte Carlo nights, etc was not your tax money.

When they are forced to go the Cities and beg for your tax money, your burden becomes greater.

When that same City leadership has to say no because there is no money, how many of those less fortunate that rely on the charities will suffer further?

When will they then raise taxes because the public demand on subsidies has grown again and they can no longer fund what they are required to?

These are questions that must be asked as the horsemen are not the only ones with skin in the game.

I urge each of you to stay involved in the details of any proposals by Governor Beshear, Lt. Gov Abramson, or anything coming out of the horse industries spokespeople.

None have been completely honest with us yet and until they are do not trust them with a decision like this that will harm Kentuckians not help them.

Casino gambling in Kentucky is needed. We can no longer hide our heads in the sand and think any differently. The hundreds of millions that Kentucky is losing each year to neighboring states is a constant reminder of how backwards our thinking is.

As badly as it is needed however we cannot afford to do it wrong the first time and work out the details later. Too many legitimate people will be left behind if we continue to favor one group over another as is the case and has been for years with the horse industry’s desire to own and control the show.

Aided and abetted by government leadership. Don’t be fooled by the talk folks.

All one needs do is see how they have walked to get a glimpse at the real plan and believe me the goal has not changed one bit….