There were many ups and downs during Tuesday night’s GOP primaries. From the U.S Senate to local county government contests, all hands were on deck for another energetic election. However, I bet the furthest thing from your mind on Tuesday night was expanded gaming.
During the 2014 legislative session, casino gaming again stalled in the Republican led State Senate. Sponsor Sen. Dan Seum couldn’t convince his GOP caucus to allow a hearing on the floor that would ultimately allow the voters of Kentucky to decide on the issue. Assuming all pro-casino lawmakers retain their support, the 2014 GOP primary may have eliminated the last remaining obstacle between Kentucky and slot machines.
In Kentucky’s 16th State Senate District, incumbent Sara Beth Gregory lost in a post-redistricting match-up to Campbellsville Professor George “Max” Wise. The Senator-elect did express discomfort with expanded gaming early in his challenge to Gregory, a major opponent to slots. However, Wise clarified his position last week by admitting he felt there was only one way to put the issue to rest: “I think a way to do that is exploring the option of putting it on the ballot.”
A second swing of momentum came by default in Louisville’s East-End community. During the 2014 session, East Louisville Senator Julie Denton went cold turkey against fellow Louisville Senator Dan Seum over casino gaming. Citing religious beliefs, Denton worked against the expansion of gambling despite representing the city whom would benefit most. On Tuesday night, Senator Denton officially became Councilwoman-elect Denton. Unopposed in both the primary and general election, Denton is officially out of the Frankfort picture. On that same night, Rep. Julie Raque Adams (a Co-Chair of Kentucky Wins, a pro-expanded gaming organization) advanced as the unopposed Republican nominee for
Denton’s East Louisville Senate seat. Though opposed in the fall election, Rep. Adams is the heavy favorite in this GOP-haven of a district. Not only would Adams be another pro-vote, she would be a vocal advocate!
Expanded gaming is now two votes closer to becoming a reality in Kentucky. What are your thoughts? Will gaming opponents still find a way to stop a constitutional amendment? Chime in!
Update: To further support evidence that expanded gaming is near inevitable, we turn to Northern Kentucky. Republican Wil Schroeder won a three-way primary to succeed retiring Senator Katie Stine. On May 9th, Schroeder told Cincinnati.com that: “I am in favor of letting the citizens of Kentucky decide this issue by putting it on the ballot for a constitutional amendment. This is a major issue that can and should be put to the voters directly.”
Max Wise, new GOP state senator-elect, said he would put casino gambling on ballot for voters, unlike his predecessors. Tipping point?
— Bluegrass Politics (@BGPolitics) May 21, 2014
— StateHouseRock (@StateHouseRock) May 10, 2014