Two area people played key roles in Kentucky's joining the growing ranks of states with lotteries. One of them was a politician who grabbed the headlines. The other was a storekeeper who worked behind the scenes, but his role in the founding of the now 15-year-old Kentucky Lottery Corp. was an important one.
In the headlines was the late Gov. Wallace Wilkinson, a Lexington-based millionaire textbook salesman who was a native of Liberty. Behind the scenes was J.N. Frankel, a prominent Danville merchant who for decades owned the city's landmark downtown business, the old Hub-Frankel Department Store.
The idea of instituting a lottery as a way to raise additional revenue for the state budget was tossed around by Kentucky political leaders and policy-makers for years. But the idea became a reality in the late 1980s, starting with Wilkinson's Democratic campaign for governor in 1987. He made it a focal point of his winning campaign.