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January 2, 2007

FRANKFORT, KY - Casino legalization was a dominant issue in the 2007 gubernatorial race, and it is expected to become a hot topic when the General Assembly returns January 8th.

House Speaker Jody Richards has already set up a task group to prepare the groundwork for the legislative process. Two weeks ago the group invited Arch Gleason, head of the Kentucky Lottery Corp., to address a public meeting. Mr. Gleason recommended the lottery regulate the casinos if they are approved.

The chairperson of the task force, Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Shively, said "We will be meeting through all of January, probably weekly, and want recommendations by the end of January. We will be in contact with the governor's office, since this is on his platform." The work of the task force may bring forth a new bill.

Last November Sen. David Boswell, D-Owensboro, pre-filed a bill for the 2008 General Assembly session. His bill would create a state gaming commission and limit the number of gaming licenses to twelve.

A constitutional amendment is required to legalize casinos in Kentucky. The legislation must be passed by 3/5 of the House and the Senate and approved by a voter referendum.

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