Beshear signs measure banning unregulated ‘gray machines’

Published 12:06 pm Monday, March 20, 2023

Despite being a long-time supporter of legalizing expanded gambling, and saying he will sign a sports wagering bill in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday signed House Bill 594, which bans ‘gray machines’ in the state.

During his weekly Capitol press conference, the governor explained the difference in his support.

“I think it’s time we had full-blown casinos in Kentucky, but it’s an industry that absolutely has to be regulated and it needs to be legal,” he said.  “Gray machines are entirely unregulated, and I don’t believe they are legal.  They came into Kentucky and just set up and were taking dollars from Kentuckians and taking them out of state; with zero regulation, zero taxation, and zero help for those who may develop any issues from using them.”

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He said he is interested in looking at ways to have additional gaming options in Kentucky and feels for those businesses who depended on the income from the gray machines, “but the law is the law.  I hope in the future, whether it’s additional Kentucky Lottery offerings or others, we can do some things to replace some of that revenue and give people options if they want to use their entertainment dollars in this way, but also benefits the commonwealth and that small business owner.”

Beshear also announced that Kentucky’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has received another $8 million from the federal government.  “This brings our total funding awards for this essential program to almost $89 million.  These dollars will directly help eligible families in need and is a program that helps folks be able to heat their homes when it’s cold, or cool their homes when it’s hot.  It especially helps a lot of struggling seniors who are out there.”

He noted that LIHEAP has helped 150,000 Kentucky families this winter and that applications remain open until March 31, or until funds are exhausted. Those interested in applying can contact their local Community Action center office.