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People should get a say

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By Bryan Marshall

Epic fail.A swing and a miss.

However, you want to label it, there is no doubt that the Senate Bill 151 was a misfire for Gov. Steve Beshear, Sen. Damon Thayer and expanded gaming supporters.

Once again, voters will not get to decide whether they do or do not want casinos in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

To me, it was a travesty, another idiotic display of how playing politics is more important than giving the people a say on important issues that impact our state.

The issue is fairly simple in my mind.

It does not matter if you are for or against expanded gaming, I do not see the fault in asking what the majority of residents want.

If the constitutional amendment is voted down, then everyone can move on with their lives.

If it is approved, then the legislators could begin crafting the best way to utilize the expected revenue to help the sagging horse industry and bolster the state’s economy as a whole.

If I had a vote, I will go on record to say I would be in favor of expanded gaming.

No, I am not a gambling addict who crouches in the fetal position until I can get one more pull off of a slot machine.

Sure, I’ve been to Las Vegas twice with my dad and some friends.
I occasionally participate in friendly, home poker games.

I have even been to a couple of the casino boats in Indiana, although I probably go maximum once every year and a half.

I know that not everyone out there has the will power to stop while they are ahead or make gambling an infrequent social activity.

I know there are some who can’t help but keep digging themselves a deeper and deeper hole as their addiction drives them to place another bet or put another dollar in the slot.

I know someone who has been dealing with those issues for years.

She has resorted to stealing and lying, and it has cost her a marriage and who knows how many friends.

While it is sad to see, the fact that a casino would be 15 or 20 minutes closer and not require crossing state lines would not alter her behavior.

If Indiana did not have nearby outlets for her addiction or Cincinnati was not in the process of building a downtown casino, she would still find a way to gamble.

Meanwhile, every year, Kentucky sits by and watches as thousands of its own residents give revenue to neighboring states.

If the money is going to be spent anyway, why shouldn’t it go back to our own in order to help fund vital programs across the Commonwealth.

Without fail, we hear annually how the state budget is once again going to be slashed and education funding has dipped.

Expanded gaming may not be the “be-all” answer to the economic woes, but it can be a part of the solution.

The Kentucky Lottery helps fund scholarships and other programs so there is already a precedent.

I am open to other ideas, but there has not been many politicians jumping up and down with alternatives.

When elected officials are more concerned with sticking by their parties and less worried about the will of the people, it becomes alarming.

It’s not a shock that the majority of the Senate decided to ignore polls that 80 percent of Kentuckians wanted to vote on expanded gaming.

It’s not even surprising that some who supported the amendment threatened to switch their vote over displeasure of another unrelated issue.

But, it is just tiresome.

It’s one of the main reasons politics has always rubbed me the wrong way.

It’s hard to believe in someone, despite how much you want to, when you get the same result every time.

Maybe, something will change someday.
Maybe, what people want will matter.
But, that’s a big maybe.

(Bryan Marshall is a staff writer at the Grant County News. He can be reached at bmarshall@grantky.com or by phone at 859-824-3343.)