FRANKFORT — Newly elected House Speaker Greg Stumbo is pushing legislation to allow video lottery terminals year-round at horse race tracks, but Senate President David Williams says he opposes any expansion of gambling in the state.
Williams, R-Burkesville, said he sees no sentiment for expanded gambling in the Republican-led Senate and doubts it would pass the Democratic-controlled House.
He even predicted that former House Speaker Jody Richards, who for years opposed expansion of gambling but changed his mind in an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2007, “will return to his Church of Christ roots now” and oppose the measure.
Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said VLTs at the tracks could raise $700 million a year for the state when in full operation.
But Williams expressed doubt about that. He said he opposes expanded gambling because it creates too many social illis, it has hurt candidates in Kentucky elections and the state doesn’t have the population to support it.
Williams said he looks forward to working with Stumbo but he would not make expanded gambling his first issue to push if he were the top leader in the House.
Williams’ comments came during a press availability in his Capitol office.
Waiting for him in his outer office were Keeneland President Nick Nicholson, Turfway President Bob Elliston, Keeneland lobbyist Judy Taylor and Turfway lobbyist Ellen Williams.
Nicholson told reporters that he prefers VLTs at the tracks over casinos throughout the state.