A recent survey, commissioned by various Kentucky horse racing interests, shows that Kentuckians want the chance to vote on whether to allow casino gaming in Kentucky. The Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group in Washington, D.C. surveyed 612 Kentucky voters statewide December 12-14, 2011 regarding their position on casino gaming in the state.
The results showed that a huge majority of the polled Kentucky voters want the chance to vote on whether or not the state should allow casino gaming. Regardless of whether they were for or against casino gaming in the state, 87 percent favored the state legislature approving a vote of the people through a proposed constitutional amendment to allow casino gaming.
The poll also asked voters the following question regarding their opinion on the proposed amendment:
"Suppose there were an amendment to the Kentucky Constitution placed on the ballot that would allow regulated casino gaming at EIGHT existing horse racetracks and ONE additional location subject to voter approval in the city or county where it would be located. The money would be used for the benefit of education, health care, public safety, local governments, and the horse racing industry."
Almost two-thirds, or 64 percent, said they would likely vote in favor of such an amendment, with 46 percent saying they would definitely vote in favor of it.
Brett Hale, Senior Vice President of corporate and government affairs for Churchill Downs Incorporated, said in response to the poll results, "In today's political climate, to have 87 percent of voters demonstrate support for any issue is remarkable. We look forward to sharing this data with decision makers in Frankfort and working with the Governor and the Legislature to pass a constitutional amendment and subsequent enabling legislation that ensures the protection of Kentucky’s signature horse industry for generations to come."
"We are encouraged by, and would agree with, Kentuckians' strong desire to participate in a statewide vote on casino gaming," said Vince Gabbert, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Keeneland Association. "Kentucky's horse industry continues to face increasing competition from neighboring states that use revenue from casino gaming to provide incentives to racing and breeding operations. By acting now, we have a chance to stem the tide and keep Kentucky's signature industry from falling further behind."
The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.