In Kentucky, a Democratic lawmaker is reportedly set to propose legislation that would aim to rescue the southern state’s struggling pension system by permitting horseracing venues and off-track betting operators to offer sports wagering.
According to a report from the Kentucky Today online news portal, Kentucky State Senator Julian Carroll is aiming to have his proposal discussed in Frankfort early next year so long as the United States Supreme Court overturns the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, which forbids all sportsbetting outside of Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.
The move means that Kentucky could become the tenth state alongside the likes of Connecticut and Mississippi to consider sports wagering legislation. While the United States Supreme Court is currently considering the legality of PASPA in response to a suit filed by New Jersey with a decision reportedly expected in the spring.
“It is important that the General Assembly acts now to create regulations in anticipation of a ruling by the [United States] Supreme Court,” Carroll reportedly told Kentucky Today. “If the [United States] Supreme Court strikes down PASPA, sports wagering will be legal in Kentucky despite this bill. This bill regulates an industry that I believe is coming to Kentucky. We should take advantage of this opportunity while safeguarding our citizens.”
Local television broadcaster WDRB-TV estimated that the state’s pension fund is currently in the red to the tune of as much as $60 billion and the taxing of sportsbetting could help to fill at least some of this hole.
“When the PFM Group made its recommendations to cut pensions, it was my mission to find a new source of revenues for the ailing systems,” Carroll reportedly told Kentucky Today. “The state has a moral and legal obligation to fund state pensions. Reducing the benefits of thousands of hard-working public servants is not an option.”
In related news, Jerry Miller from the Kentucky House of Representatives reportedly told WDRB-TV that he soon intends to partner with Democratic Kentucky State Senator Morgan McGarvey to introduce legislation that would raise funds by bringing Class III casinos to the “Bluegrass State”. The Louisville Republican purportedly stated that his proposal could be put to a vote before the end of the autumn although it would subsequently need to be ratified via a state-wide referendum before becoming the law of the land.
“We have to meet our obligations; the promises we made to retirees,” Miller reportedly told the television broadcaster. “Pension reform is going to reduce that billion by some number. We don’t know what yet but it’s clear we need a lot of money.”