Casino gambling in the Bluegrass State?

KENTUCKY (FOX19) - Casino gambling in the Bluegrass State? New legislation would allow three stand-alone casinos, plus five others at horse tracks. If this is approved, voters would decide on it next November.

The bill's sponsor says it would generate $286 million a year in revenue.

But on the flip side, opponents say the Bible-belt state has a longstanding tradition of betting on horses and playing lotteries, while banning casinos.

"No no no, we don't need anymore casinos around here," explains Julie Boone.

That's what business owner Julie Boone thinks about a casino in Northern Kentucky.

Covington commissioner Steve Frank says Kentucky does miss out on gambling revenue, especially locally with Belterra and Hollywood Casino in Indiana and the Horseshoe, Belterra Park, and soon the Miami Valley Gaming Racino in Ohio.

"I know a lot of folks that enjoy it and they're crossing the bridge to spend their money in Ohio or Indiana. It'd be nice to think that some folks would want to come here and spend some money," says Frank.

With a new casino comes new restaurants inside. Boone says some of the local restaurants are hurting because of the attraction of new places to eat at the Horseshoe. She says that will only get worse with a new casino in Northern Kentucky.

"We're seeing these restaurants are suffering already a little bit which means their employees aren't getting the hours and hence they're not making the money they're used to," adds Boone.

Boone says the revitalization south of the river is picking up, and a casino wouldn't make a huge difference.

"Things are really happening here in Covington and all over Northern Kentucky and there's no point, if it's not broke don't fix it," says Boone.

Commissioner Frank agrees their development doesn't depend on casino but he thinks somewhere in Northern Kentucky has a good shot to get one if this bill passes.

"Given the fact that this is the second most populated area in the state of Kentucky, I would think we'd probably get a casino," explains Frank.

If passed, here's how the revenues would be allocated.

Fifty percent to education, 10 percent to public pension, 25 percent to the general fund, 4 percent for county and municipal public safety as well as drug and alcohol treatment.

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