Led by President of Northern Kentucky Chamber Brent Cooper

Kentucky: Chambers of Commerce push towards legalizing casino gaming

The push towards casino gambling legalization -led by Brent Cooper, president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce- would be included in the November ballot.
2018-02-09
Reading time 1:31 min
Cooper claims gaming legalization in Kentucky makes sense, since it would profit on USD 250 to 350 million currently flowing into Indiana and Ohio, also posing an alternative to the looming tax raises. But the idea has faced opposition, especially from rural communities and locals who view casinos as a potential threat to their way of life.

The push towards casino gambling legalization -led by Brent Cooper, president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce- would be included in the November ballot.

"We have horse racing and a billion dollars comes out of the lottery," Cooper claims. "We already have gaming. It's prevalent. Why not take advantage of it?"

States near Kentucky including Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee and Illinois have already adopted gaming. Cooper said 85 percent of Kentuckians live within two hours of a casino. He likened the situation to packing up millions of dollars in a suitcase and shipping it out of state.

"If we can keep those dollars here, keep them from going across the river, keep them from going to Indiana or Ohio, that's in our interest," he said. "We want to pursue that."

Cooper said it makes sense to legalize casino gaming in Kentucky. But the idea has faced opposition in the past, especially from rural communities. Some view casinos as a potential threat to their way of life. The casino proponents are willing to work around that with how legislation is written, according to Cooper.

As it stands, the state is missing out on between $250-$350 million, Cooper said.

"We're bringing it back up now because of the pension situation in Frankfort. It's dire," Cooper said. "They have to come up with a way to come up with revenue. This is an alternative to raising taxes. They could raise hundreds of millions of dollars with this kind of option for our community."

Cooper said there's been support from both sides of the aisle in Frankfort.

This isn't the first time a casino proposal has been presented In 2008, a similar proposal crumbled in the Kentucky House of Representatives, but Cooper said this time could be different. The stakes are higher now with looming costs like the state pension.

"If we approve this, it will create a revenue stream that will help us to really jumpstart this state in so many ways," Cooper said.

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