LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Gambling in Kentucky would be greatly expanded to help pay for the commonwealth's staggeringly underfunded public pensions, under a plan released Thursday by Democratic candidate for governor Andy Beshear.
Beshear, the current attorney general, is running to replace Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. Bevin has consistently resisted efforts to expand gambling in the commonwealth.
Under the plan, Beshear says he and candidate for Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman would "direct all new revenue streams from expanded gaming to fund public pensions for teachers, police officers, firefighters, and social workers, among other public servants."
The sums could be substantial.
"Commercial gaming is a growing industry that created more than $40 billion in revenue and $9 billion in direct taxes across the 24 states that have embraced gaming in 2017," according to the plan released by the Beshear-Coleman campaign.
Beshear's plan foresees expanded gambling across a spectrum of fronts.
"These new opportunities will include legalizing casinos, capitalizing on fantasy sports, sports betting, and preparing for online poker," according to the plan.
Kentucky has struggled with historically underfunded public pensions.
In his opposition, Bevin has pointed to societal costs associated with gambling addiction. The Beshear plan say the state Cabinet of Health and Family Services would be directed to reevaluate its efforts to fight such problems.