Crucial Sports Betting Votes Upcoming in Kentucky, Other States

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Crucial Sports Betting Votes Upcoming in Kentucky, Other States

The effort to approve sports betting in Kentucky enters the home stretch this week, as the state Senate prepares to vote on the issue in a few days.

Lawmakers in other heartland states also are giving a last look at whether to approve sports betting.

Nationwide, sports betting is legal and live in 30 states and Washington, D.C. It is legal but not operational in three others, Nebraska, Ohio and Florida.

Kentucky is one of several states where lawmakers are trying to legalize sports betting before legislative sessions end for the year.

Others include sports betting in Kansas, Missouri and Minnesota.

Kentucky Vote Set For This Week

In Kentucky, a bill by state Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, has been approved in the House by a margin of almost 2-to-1.

When lawmakers return to the statehouse in Frankfort on Wednesday from a recess, the sports betting bill is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate.

Koenig’s House Bill 606 would legalize mobile sports betting and on-site wagering at horse tracks. It also would permit online poker and fantasy sports game.

Like all legislation, the sports betting bill requires approval in the House and Senate before going to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear for his consideration.

The governor has said he supports sports betting, but if the bill dies in the Senate, it would not end up on his desk and won’t become law.

Though Senate leaders have said they doubt sports betting has the votes to pass in that chamber, Koenig has been active on social media sites over the past few days, attempting to drum up support.

Pro Sports Teams Support Missouri Wagering

In Missouri, House Bill 2502, which aims to legalize sports betting, was up for discussion last week in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

At the hearing, representatives from the state’s professional sports teams expressed support for the bill, which would tax sports betting revenue at 8%.

The committee did not vote last week and has not scheduled another hearing on the bill. The Missouri Legislature is set to adjourn on May 20.

Kansas Lawmakers To Decide Soon On Sports Betting

Next door in Kansas, a bill to legalize mobile sports betting and in-person wagering at the state’s four casinos has been approved in the House.

The amended bill will come before the Senate when lawmakers return to the statehouse in Topeka on April 25 to wrap up the legislative session.

The Kansas measure, Senate Bill 84, would set aside 80% of tax revenue from sports wagering to construct a stadium in the state.

This provision has led to speculation that the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs might move across the border from Missouri into Kansas.

The Chiefs have nine years remaining on their lease at Arrowhead Stadium east of downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

On-Site, Mobile Wagering Eyed In Minnesota

In Minnesota a house bill would legalize in-person betting at tribal casinos and grant tribes the right to partner with online bookmakers for mobile betting.

The bill, HF778, is awaiting a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee. The legislative session in Minnesota ends May 23.

Sports betting is legal is each of the four states bordering Minnesota.

Southern States Split On Sports Betting

In some states, such as Georgia and Mississippi, sports betting initiatives died at this year’s legislative sessions.

Georgia lawmakers declined to approve a sports betting bill before the legislative session ended last week at the Gold Dome in Atlanta.

In nearby Mississippi, the Legislature this year did not approve a measure to legalize off-site mobile sports betting.

However, on-site sports betting is legal at Mississippi’s 26 state-regulated casinos.

In neighboring Louisiana, on-site sports betting is legal inside the state’s commercial casinos and racinos. Mobile wagering is legal in the 55 of 64 parishes that approved it in a 2020 public vote.

In Oklahoma and Alabama, legislators who sponsored sports betting measures in those states have said the bills stand little chance of passage this year.

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