Kentucky’s upcoming gubernatorial election has come down to one deciding issue: casino gambling.
Republican incumbent Ernie Fletcher was the first GOP governor in Kentucky in 30 years when he was elected four years ago. His status as an ordained Baptist minister first earned him his squeaky-clean political image-an image that most analysts claim was the reason for his election.
However, throughout his term, Fletcher’s image has been tainted by an indictment that he violated state hiring laws by giving jobs to his campaign supporters. Fletcher has now tried relentlessly to clean his act up and is campaigning hard for his re-election by trying to convince Kentucky that casino gambling will spread divorce, bankruptcy, and poverty.
On the opposite side of the political fence is Fletcher’s competition, Steve Beshear. Beshear, a former lieutenant governor and attorney general, is no stranger to campaigning; he lost another Kentucky governor’s race in 1987 and failed to be elected U.S. Senator in 1996. Beshear’s theory is that casino gambling will generate a great deal of revenue for the state of Kentucky that can be used for healthcare, education, and economic growth.
The question every Kentuckian is arguing over is which one of these candidates is correct? In theory, they both are. However, if the facts are examined more closely with a little common sense, Beshear is definitely correct that casino gambling will help Kentucky more than harm it.
First of all, Kentucky is a state deeply rooted in gambling already. It is the number one hot spot for horse tracks, where many wagers are made daily. No one has ever suggested abolishing the state’s revered past time and yet Kentucky has survived.
The fact also remains that casinos bring jobs and we’re not just talking about card dealers and pit bosses either. It brings jobs in maintenance, marketing, sound/audio companies, security, food service workers, and more. Most of these jobs are not minimum wage, either, which would provide a great boost to Kentucky’s economy. On top of that, with the rise of online poker games like judi online poker, it creates new opportunities for people such as jobs, infrastructure and others.
While I do agree that compulsive and addiction gambling is a problem, it will continue to be a problem whether or not these casinos are allowed to operate in Kentucky or not. There is still the lottery, horse tracks, and a short drive over the Mississippi River to Missouri or down south to Alabama to a neighboring casino to fulfill their urge to play.
After all, if these people are addicted do you really think a short drive will stop them from financial ruin? Hardly. At least with the casinos actually in Kentucky, the state will be able to generate revenue to revive their economy and promote educational programs.
While I appreciate Fletcher’s soap box full of morality and concern for the state, the only way to fix a lot of Kentucky’s problems is to generate more money. Casinos are the easiest and quickest way to achieve this.