Kentucky casino bill gets derailed

February 24, 2012 9:50 am

Every once in a while the good guys win.

State senators in Kentucky voted down a fast-track measure that would have paved the way to changing the state Constitution to legalize casinos. Casino backers tried to tie the measure to helping the horse racing industry in Kentucky. But even that wasn’t enough to convince enough lawmakers that funding the government by enticing residents to gamble away their money was a good public policy.

Indeed, the senators who voted against the casino bill cited “moral, economic and ethical issues.” Others also pointed to the corrupting influence gambling has on government. That about covers the many problems with gambling, which adds little to the economy and strips wealth from residents. It also leads to increased crime, divorce, bankruptcy and suicide, which costs every taxpayer.

But lawmakers in many states overlook the economic and social costs in their zeal to find new ways to generate revenue for state coffers. Many lawmakers are also influenced by gambling lobbyists, who have poured millions into state houses across the country in effort to legalize casinos. This time, the casino forces were turned away in Kentucky. But they will likely be back.