KY Lottery President Opposes Reid/Kyl

Saying gambling should be regulated by individual states, the president of the Kentucky Lottery Corporation, Arthur L. Gleason Jr., has voiced his opposition to the Reid/Kyl bill, which would legalize online poker on a federal level.

“The federal government should not encroach on states’ rights to implement and regulate Internet gaming within their own borders,” Gleason wrote in a 960-word letter, urging Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to oppose the proposed legislation. “Individual states are best able to decide what, if any, gambling should occur within their borders.”

Gleason said he received a summary of the bill and understands that it would “primarily benefit the state of Nevada and the casino industry. Consequently, we believe it would be ill-advised and contrary to the interests of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

Gleason sides with Massachusetts Lottery Chairman Steven Grossman and the National Governors Association in public opposition to the Reid/Kyl proposal. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, however, supported the bill. Under the legislation, the Silver State could become the regulation hub for online poker.

Federally regulated online poker would be in competition with state lotteries, Gleason said, and the Reid/Kyl bill would prohibit state lotteries from choosing which games could be offered online.

The proposed legislation has yet to be presented to Congress, but a summary was leaked to the public in September and a full draft began circulating last month.

“The KLC has no immediate plans to initiate the intrastate sale of lottery tickets via the internet,” he wrote. “Nevertheless, we strongly wish to preserve that right and all revenue-generating opportunities that may be available should it be determined to be in the best interest of the Commonwealth in the future. The legislation being developed by Senators Reid and Kyl, however, if enacted, would definitely curtail that right, and consequently, future revenue generating opportunities.”

He said the amount of federal taxes distributed to the states under the Reid/Kyl plan is lower than what is allotted under currently authorized gaming.

“Federally regulated Internet gambling would create a duplicative system and add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy because states already have their own infrastructures in place,” Gleason wrote. “The bill proposed by Senators Reid and Kyl effectively closes that door for state lotteries.”