While Canadian and UK residents have simple access to the top online casinos, the fight in the United States is ongoing concerning the rewards and risks of gambling. However, things could soon change in the state of Kentucky. The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is now proposing a bill that would make casino gambling legal in the state. This new legislation could lead to the opening of a land-based casino and a new web-based market for online casino providers.
Brent Cooper is the president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Cooper says that the group has formed a partnership with Louisville’s Chamber of Commerce in a unified effort to get the bill moving forward. He adds that it is the intention of both parties to have this issue get onto the ballot for voters in November 2018.
Kentucky is already home to one of the most popular horse racing events in the world. The Kentucky Derby generates an estimated $260+ million for the Churchill Downs venue alone. This number does not include the financial boon for top online casinos and sportsbooks benefitting from players making bets. In addition, the state of Kentucky rakes in around one billion dollars from its lottery. The push to have casinos, according to Cooper, is a natural one.
The geography of Kentucky puts it at a massive disadvantage with a ban on casinos still in effect. Approximately 85 percent of Kentucky residents can travel to a casino in under two hours. Of course, the casinos are out-of-state and so is the money being spent. Cooper believes that Kentucky is losing out on $250 to $350 million by not having local casinos.
As is the case throughout the United States, the bill faces opposition. Many individuals living in the rural areas of Kentucky are concerned that allowing casinos would interfere with the secluded lifestyle they can enjoy. Those who support the inclusion of casinos state that new legislation could be adjusted to protect rural residents.
The reality is that Kentucky is facing a state pension crisis, which the proposed new casino revenue could resolve. Cooper says that it is an increasingly preferable alternative to raising taxes and would generate better opportunities. The bill may also be a stepping stone to allowing the top online casinos to operate on a digital platform within the state.
A similar bill was introduced in 2008 to legalize casinos in the state of Kentucky, but it dissolved when it reached the House of Representatives.