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The most famous horse race in the world will take place in Louisville on Saturday, and because of it, there will be plenty of people at Churchill Downs eating, drinking and enjoying the atmosphere. Oh, and you can bet many of them will be there to gamble.
That got us thinking about how gambling is viewed in Kentucky, and how our legislators will not let Kentuckians make up their own minds about casinos and other forms of expanded gaming.
Sure, it’s fine when the gambling is done as part of a sporting tradition that has taken place for nearly 150 years, but when it involves a slot machine or a card game at a casino, it’s apparently not such a good idea. At least that’s what legislators are telling us when they refuse to allow expanded gaming in the state, and won’t even let the people of Kentucky voice their opinions by putting the issue on a ballot during an election.
One of the more interesting issue about the decision is that while we aren’t allowed to have casinos in our own state, we continue to have the lottery, which is more readily available to residents than casinos would be, and the government continues to make gambling with the lottery even more convenient by placing vending machines in many convenience stores around the state, helping customers gamble in a hurry and avoid the lines at the check-out counter.
It seems our legislators are quick to protect our interests, as long as it falls in line with theirs. Nobody is rushing out to end the lottery and stop people from spending their money on that form of gambling, or to keep them away from the horse racing tracks with their betting windows. But if we want to have some casinos in our state, that’s another topic.
Politicians are elected to represent the people and be a voice for them. How can they do that when they refuse to let us vote and tell them what we really think about the issue of expanded gaming? They are not elected to be like our parents, doing what they believe is best for us no matter what we think.
We’re not saying expanded gaming has to be passed by legislators, but they should at least give us the chance to express our opinions. We’re allowed to gamble in every other way, so how is a casino different?