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An open letter to Gov. Steve Beshear on gaming

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By The Staff

First of all, I would like to thank you for having the vision to try to get casino gambling in this state.

I became very upset when I looked at the Lexington Herald-Leader dated Oct. 25, 2009. There was an editorial on child abuse deaths topped by a cartoon with a graveyard of children. The article next to the graveyard cartoon was “Tactics Delay Slots at Racetracks.” When you link both of these together it becomes very apparent that our leaders and the people of Kentucky do not realize the income that the state would receive and the children that could be saved from abuse and neglect in the nation. As if that wasn’t bad enough, when the economy went into meltdown, the state cut $28 million in protective services for our children. Not a pretty picture. Children have been burned to death, beaten to death, died from scalding. We can stop this with the income that Kentucky would receive from casinos.

The state of Kentucky has long been known as the racing capital of the world. We are about to lose that and might not be able to recover now. We are surrounded by states that have legalized casinos and they are expanding rapidly. Indiana has just passed legislation that they can now have land-based casinos as did Ohio. There are 37 states that have casino gambling. Casino gambling is the best thing that could happen to the state of Kentucky. How can the people of Kentucky not see the light?

When I go to local casinos, I see the parking lots filled with Kentucky license plates. The casinos are built close to Kentucky to get Kentucky revenue. We need that revenue in our state. I understand that the state of Kentucky has has an $800 million dollar to $1 billion dollar deficit. The benefits of casinos in Kentucky far exceed any possible downside. The people of Kentucky need to know that they can save children’s lives and give our children better educations with casino revenue. Kentucky is the fifth poorest state in the USA. We can change that.

This is my proposal: Slots alone at the racetracks will not generate enough revenue for the state. It is just a patch. If we are going to limit gambling to our racetracks, in addition to the slots, we should have poker rooms (the poker room at Hollywood Casino is packed and there is a waiting line to play, most of the players are from Kentucky). One other addition would be to have legalized sports betting in Kentucky racetracks. The racetracks already have intrastate betting on horses. The terminals and the people are there.

Kentucky children come first.

Rex Benson Sr.