A proposed constitutional amendment authorizing casino gambling in Kentucky could receive a floor vote in the state Senate as early as Thursday.
But whenever the chamber takes up the measure, senators will have the opportunity to consider alternatives to the language of a bill that passed the Senate State and Local Government Committee Wednesday.
Sen. Damon Thayer, the Georgetown Republican who is sponsoring the legislation, said following Wednesday's committee meeting he would file at least two floor amendments addressing some of the concerns raised during committee consideration of the issue.
One will simply change "shall" to "may" in the language of the proposed amendment. Another would make the "shall-may" switch and remove a provision barring any casinos not located at racetracks from being located within a 60-mile radius of a licensed racetrack.
Removal of the 60-mile buffer zone would make the amendment unacceptable in our view.
Our support for expanded gambling of any kind stems from our belief that Thoroughbred racing, a signature Kentucky industry, needs it to remain competitive with its counterparts in states where purses and breeding incentives are supplemented by revenue from expanded gambling.
Although not specifically stated in the proposed amendment, the buffer zone has the practical effect of assuring some of the seven casinos authorized by the measure will be located at and operated by racetracks, thereby helping them to achieve parity with other "racino" states. Remove the buffer zone, and there is no guarantee any casinos will be located at racetracks or even provide any benefit to the racing industry.
Without such a guaranteed benefit to a signature industry, Kentucky doesn't need to add to the gambling options it already has.