Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear continues to push to make gambling legal in Kentucky in all its iterations, pulling a page straight from his father’s political playbook.
It’s a sad commentary on a man who, as attorney general, is supposed to be Kentucky’s chief law enforcement officer and who should be in a position to recognize the suffering and misery that gambling would unleash on the state.
Beshear has sent a letter to lawmakers asking them to open the door to casinos, sports wagering and online poker in Kentucky. Lawmakers should turn a deaf ear to this ludicrous proposal.
You’ll recall that Beshear’s father, former Gov. Steve Beshear, pushed relentlessly to bring casinos to our state. Ultimately, he had to surrender to the will of the people.
No doubt, the younger Beshear’s position will be beneficial to his campaign fundraising. Casino owners have deep pockets. And it’s an unfortunate truth that some politicians are mesmerized by money.
The state’s largest religious organization, the 750,000-member Kentucky Baptist Convention, rightly contends that gambling causes governments to prey on their own citizens, rather than to protect them from harm. Most Kentucky lawmakers get that. They understand that the human toll of casinos would be catastrophic. They also understand that the additional costs incurred by social service agencies to care for victims of gambling would be enormous, far greater than any revenue gambling might generate.
Beshear’s proposal carries with it real risk for his gubernatorial aspirations. It could, in fact, quash his hopes if a conservative Democrat who opposes gambling were to enter the race.