Kentucky Lawmakers Pushing Sports Betting Bill

Date IconLast Updated: Sep 28th, 2022
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Kentucky Lawmakers Pushing Sports Betting Bill
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Kentucky lawmakers are making another push to legalize sports betting in the state. On Wednesday, a sports betting bill was filed in the Kentucky Senate.

What’s In New Kentucky Sports Betting Bill

The bill is sponsored by Sen. David Yates and would license and regulate sports betting, online poker and daily fantasy sports contests. SB 213 would permit online sports wagering but would require bettors to register in person or at a licensed partnered horse track or other gaming facility until 2024.

This is the fourth consecutive year there has been a push to legalize sports betting in Kentucky. House Rep. Adam Koenig led sports betting legalization efforts in 2020 and 2021 and plans to file another bill to legalize sports betting in the state.

Koenig reiterated to local media his intentions to bring a legalized sports betting market to Kentucky.

“I’m not going to leave here until I get it done,” he told WAVE news on Tuesday. “Three years ago, the study said $22.5 million (tax revenue from sports betting). I think that is conservative, frankly, especially with other states outpacing their projections.”

Support, Opposition for Kentucky Sports Betting

Kentucky lawmakers have been close to legalizing sports wagering. Two years ago, Koenig’s bill passed unanimously in the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee. It then passed in the second week of a 60-day session and went to the House floor, where 41 of Koenig’s 99 colleagues in the chamber co-sponsored the bill. But opponents filed numerous amendments to the bill before it went back to committee, stalling out.

Koenig’s supporters include Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who during his State of the Commonwealth, reiterated his belief behind a legalized sports betting market in Kentucky.

“Speaking of laws that unduly restrict us from growth and innovation, it is time to legalize medical marijuana, pass sports betting and save historic horse racing,” he said.

The opposition to expanded gaming comes from religious conservatives who make up the majority in both chambers. Republicans hold 75 of the 100 seats in the House and 30 of the 38 Senate seats.

“Opposition is not based upon proximity of other (sports betting) states,” Koenig said in January. “It’s based on other things. Some people think it’s evil and sinning. Some people think their constituents don’t want it. It’s fair to say voting ‘no’ on anything gambling is a safe vote, especially if you’re a Republican and have to face a Republican primary.”