Cincinnati Councilman Responds To Possibility Of Casinos In NKY

(CINCINNATI) -- Following Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's plan to allow 12 casinos in Kentucky, two of which would be located in northern Kentucky, Cincinnati councilman Jeff Berding unveiled a plan on Monday in response to that plan.

Berding is requesting quick action from the Ohio General Assembly that would permit full casino gaming in any Ohio county that borders a state that approves any form of casino gambling.

Beshear's plan calls for a casino at Turfway Park in Boone County and another stand alone casino in Kenton or Campbell counties.

The following is the text of Berding's motion:

I move that the Ohio General Assembly approve a constitutional amendment for placement on the 2008 General Election ballot that would permit full casino gambling in any Ohio county that borders a State that approves any form of casino gaming on or after the effective date of this amendment. The proposed amendment shall trigger the creation of the Ohio Gaming Commission, who shall be authorized to issue no more than two casino gaming licenses in any such county, on of which shall be located in the county seat of government and the second shall be located outside the county seat of government, provided that the voters of that county approve casino gaming at a primary or general election.

Berding has also released the following statement:

The Commonwealth of Kentucky appears ready to move forward with a proposal for full casino gaming. The Kentucky governor's proposal includes two casinos in either Campbell or Kenton counties, both separated from the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County by only the Ohio River. The approval of casinos in Northern Kentucky is a direct economic threat to the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. The City of Cincinnati stands to lose millions of dollars in future economic development as a result of a casino across the river. Casino advocates in Kentucky estimate that a Northern Kentucky casino on the riverfront would generate over $315 million in revenue and $160 a year in taxes. Much of that revenue stands to come from the pockets of people in Ohio, be it residents or visitors. Greater Cincinnati residents are already key contributors to the huge success of the Southeast Indiana casino riverboats.

"The Gaming Economic Protection Response Act" is essential for Ohioans to approve so that no city or county is faces with the burden of fighting for their economic survival with one hand tied behind its back. Furthermore, the act does not propose to add casino gaming to all parts of the state, only those areas threatened economically by new neighboring casinos. Ohio currently loses $160 million in convention business that goes elsewhere in the region primarily due to nearby out of state casinos.

Ohioans also take approximately $2 billion in revenue outside the state to gamble. Like many Ohio cities, Cincinnati is already facing a budget crisis. The city of Cincinnati, with support from the private sector, has invested well over $1 billion on an expanded convention center, renovate Fountain Square, and stadiums on our riverfront, with hundreds of millions of dollars more soon to be invested on The Banks development. These investments are at risk if convention visitors, tourists and other entertainment dollars flow to Northern Kentucky following the casinos. Cincinnati and Hamilton County voters should be given the opportunity to decide if we want to respond on our own, and we call on the members of the General Assembly to help us defend ourselves. Put it to a vote.