Wednesday, Denver Butler, D-Louisville, chairman of the House Licensing and Occupations Committee, offered an amendment to House Bill 600 that would allow for casino gaming at nine sites across the state.
Whether or not off-track betting facilities would be included as possible locations and how the state should spend any new revenue had become a sticking point on the legislation.
With all the publicity the issue is generating, Butler said the issue of locations should be postponed until the voters have spoken.
Under the committee substitute approved by the committee, casinos could be established in nine locations across the state.
By eliminating the site question, Butler said the fundamental issue of allowing expanded gaming could be answered by the voters if the measure is approved by the House and Senate.
“If it's immoral, they can vote against it,” Butler said.
Committee member state Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, said the committee's amendment fails to protect the horse industry and could only delay answering the site question.
“It's kinda like the dog that catches the car,” Lee said.
State Rep. Paul Marcotte, R-Union, opposed the amendment and called the move “poor public policy” to leave such a vital question unanswered.
Vice Chairman of the committee Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville, favored the amendment and said getting the issue moving was a sign of progress.
“(The question of casino gaming) needs to be resolved,” Meeks said.
“The people deserve an opportunity to voice their opinion.”
If voters approve the measure, Butler said it could be addressed by the next session of the General Assembly or possibly during a special called session.
With the adoption of the committee's recommendation, HB 600 moves on to the full House for consideration.