A Kentucky lawmaker is filing a lawsuit over the state’s state-run gambling law, arguing the ban is unconstitutional.
The Kentucky Lawmakers Bill of Rights says it is a fundamental right to gamble, and that the state is constitutionally obligated to protect that right.
“It is in the state government’s best interest to ensure that Kentuckyers enjoy the highest standard of gambling safety and are able to enjoy gambling responsibly,” the bill says.
But the bill does not specifically address whether Kentuckyers have a right to participate in casinos, and some legal experts said the language could be interpreted to mean Kentuckyers are not legally allowed to gamble.
The bill’s author, state Rep. Steve Jones, R-New Castle, has said he wants to amend the bill so that Kentucky would not be a place that is “hostile” to gambling.
The new legislation would allow Kentucky residents to use the state-owned casinos at a discount rate, but the bill has not yet been officially approved by the state legislature.
In an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal, Jones said he did not intend to take any action until he was able to gather enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot.
Kentucky has the second-highest number of gambling-related deaths in the nation.
Jones said his legislation would “make it a lot harder for casinos to operate.”
He said he hoped to secure enough signatures and get the bill on the 2018 ballot.
The legislation also would allow for the creation of new gaming-related businesses, and the creation and management of casinos and gaming establishments, but there is no provision for the federal government to regulate the gambling industry.
The state’s casinos currently have the largest presence in the United States, according to the National Gaming Commission.
Kentucky is one of just two states that allow casinos in the winter, the other being New York, which allows them from March to October.