Kentucky Looking to Say ‘Yay’ to Online Gambling—Sort of

In what seems to be a positive trend for United States’ gambling, Kentucky is now joining the list of states looking at gambling as a resource to help pull their state out of the recession. Kind of.

Kentucky Governor Steven Beshear is seeking to right his state’s budget, which is $850 million short for the next two fiscal years. Beshear is already speaking as if the revenue from legalizing and regulating interstate gambling will be a definite thing. He’s treating it like it’s the only option available for Kentucky. According to him, the $850 million he would have to cut from other spending would be reduced to $78 million in cuts.

Beshear has been quoted as saying, “[Gambling revenue] will provide a reliable source of income we can use year after year after year to make investments in the institutions and people of this state, to strengthen our efforts to emerge from this recession not shell-shocked and shattered, but ambitious and able.”

Pretty words from a man who is very opposed to online gambling and online casinos—this would include online blackjack. Beshear believes online casinos are “leaches to the state.”

But he’s perfectly okay with gambling face to face. Apparently, playing blackjack in a Kentucky sanctioned casino would be very different from playing in an online casino that is regulated by Kentucky.

Perhaps Beshear should reexamine his stance on online casinos and online gambling like New Jersey and Florida are doing. If it’s revenue for his state that he’s seeking surely he can see the benefit that online gambling being regulated in Kentucky could have for his state.

By regulating face to face gambling within the borders of Kentucky, Beshear would only be making money off of Kentucky residents. But if he were to work with the state’s Legislature to regulate online gambling within Kentucky the potential to reach out and pull in more revenue will increase. Online casinos make playing your favorites, like our favorite blackjack, more accessible. The more accessible it is, the more people will play it.

So perhaps Kentucky should be looking in the direction that New Jersey and Florida are.

Florida Trying to Legalize Online Gambling

The last several months, Florida politicians and legislatures have been going back and forth with Governor Charlie Crist and the Seminole Tribe about allowing table games at the tribal casinos. These are of course land based casinos. And the Seminoles want to exclusively offer table games to Floridians and tourists. Obviously racinos across Florida have issues with this.

But the taxes and fees that the Seminoles would be paying would be going into the State’s funds, specifically the education budget. But with the continued stalemate has resulted in no revenue from gambling going towards the State’s financial needs.

Thankfully other options are being examined.

Florida’s Legislative Office of Program Policy and Government Analysis (OPPAGA) is coming to the rescue. They will be presenting a review they have conducted on online gaming to the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on this coming Tuesday, January 19th at 4pm—their time. They are trying to legalize online gaming—blackjack included—in the State.

With extra revenue needed to fill out the budget and the Seminoles, Crist and State Legislature still squabbling, it’s no surprise that another group has stepped up to the plate to try to find revenue. And with how popular online gaming this just might be a good source of income for Florida.

Blackjack fans, if Florida legalizes online gaming then it will provide much needed revenue. But it will also give the Seminoles a run for their money. Whereas Floridians and tourists would have to actually travel to the tribal casinos, any Floridian will be able to play from the comfort of their home. In other words it opens up the potential of generating more revenue.

But Florida isn’t the only state looking to the country’s citizens’ love of online gaming as a source of money to tap into. Recently Pennsylvania legalized table games—including blackjack—at their racinos and resorts. Kentucky is also allowing online gambling in a fashion.

But the point is that with revenue needed the States shouldn’t be too quick to turn their noses up at online gaming. This is now a popular form of entertainment and it’s best for the States to recognize it and tap into it.