Senate President David Williams said Monday night that Kentuckians would drain their pocketbooks if they gambled as much as expected under a plan to expand gaming at racetracks.
Williams said gambling would have to increase fivefold to realize the $700 million that gambling advocates predict such gaming will generate.
His comments came during an appearance with Gov. Steve Beshear and House Speaker Greg Stumbo on Kentucky Tonight, a public affairs show on the Kentucky Educational Television network with host Bill Goodman.
Williams, R-Burkesville, opposes expanded gambling, while the Democratic governor and Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, favor it.
Beshear, who is pushing slots at the tracks in a special legislative session to begin June 15, said he will make public Tuesday the details of his legislation. He said he also hopes to address the legislature in a joint session early next week.
He disagreed with Williams that the action would increase gambling.
He said the gain in gambling dollars would come from the many Kentuckians who now go to other states to wager at casinos and slots.
"We're just trying to take advantage of the entertainment dollars already being spent," Beshear said.
Williams has said there is no sentiment in the Senate in favor of gambling.
Stumbo said the House is poised to vote on the measure, but he stopped short of predicting its passage.
He acknowledged that the House leadership is not united on the issue and said leaders will not "twist arms" of members to ensure passage.
Beshear also said he and his wife, Jane, were in Virginia over the weekend to tend to their older son, Jeff Beshear, an equine veterinarian there who suffered a skull fracture Friday when a horse knocked him down.
No surgery was required, the governor said.