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Issues Within Opinion

  With the special session of Kentucky’s Congress meeting today there is expected to be much discussion surrounding the budget, and theo opinion of Attorney General Jack Conway regarding slot machines at the race tracks throughout the state.

  In an official opinion released yesterday, Attorney General Conway gave the synopsis that “The General Assembly may authorize the Kentucky Lottery Corporation to establish, license, regulate and tax video lottery terminals at designated horse racing tracks under Ky. Const. 226(1) without further amendment to the Kentucky Constitution.” It is the findings and statements that led to that conclusion that has the potential of drawing the attention and disagreement of various people and groups.

  One item that is certain to gain the attention of many within the General Assembly is the potential of income and/or loss of revenue that will occur by allowing such action. This would require much research and analysis from various groups of expertise: “Policy considerations, such as long-term economic stability and forecasts, the financial health of the horse racing industry, and societal interests regarding gambling do not fall under the opinion oauthority of the Attorney General and will not be considered. Instead, these policy matters are appropriately left to legislative debate during the Special Session or during future Regular Sessions of the General Assembly.” With this statement, Mr. Conway leaves the question of profitability and other aspects of the idea to the legislation.  The problems that have been pointed out by various groups in the past is that in order to make statements promoting the “legality” issue of gambling with within another institution, is that the opinion already comes with the presupposition of  tolerance towards the issue.

  On page four of the opinion, Mr. Conway states a question that the opinion seeks to answer: “Is VLT gaming a ‘lottery’ as provided under Section 226(3) of the Kentucky Constitution prohibiting ‘lotteries … (and) schemes for similar purposes’ unless otherwise exempted under Sections 226(1)?” Within the answering of this question, the Attorney General causes some questions to be raised because, as pointed out on page 6 of his opinion “the General Assembly in its 1994 charitable gaming legislation prohibited slot machines and gaming by statute.” This allows a question to be raised: Is slot machines alogether banned according to legislation, or is the rule allowed to be bent to provide a loophole for the alot machines in racetracks?

  The question is vitally important: If the legislation agrees with the opinion of the Attorney General, as it is apt to do, then they can and will pass legislation allowing the slot machines in various racetracks throughout the commonwealth in effort to bolster revenue throughout the commonwealth. If the legislation requires a consititutional amendment, then the issue is apt to be placed for a vote by the citizens of the commonwealth. This vote would require that the issue wait until the next election called, thus putting aside for later in revenues that may/may not be accrued by such action.

  Currently there are many groups seeking to ensure that the issues of gambling be kept out of the racetracks, for a variety of reasons. These groups have advertised their position on radio stations such as WHAS 840AM.

June 16, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

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