The majority leader of the Kentucky State Senate has reportedly declared that he believes legislators are likely to approve a measure early next year that will allow some land-based venues in the southern state to offer sportsbetting.

According to a Saturday report from The Blood-Horse horse racing magazine, the revelation came from Damon Thayer (pictured) during last week’s Sports Wagering and Impact on Horse Racing Symposium, which was held at Lexington’s Keeneland Sales Pavilion.

Bi-partisan group formulating legislation:

The 50-year-old Republican told the magazine that a bipartisan group of state lawmakers is currently hoping to file a bill in advance of the start of a 30-day legislative session on January 8 that would likely bring sportsbetting to ‘The Bluegrass State’ in 2019 while handing oversight duties to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Tax revenues to be small:

Thayer explained that future taxes from legalized sportsbetting will likely be well below those currently produced by slots with the majority of any new funds probably due to be set aside for existing public education and pension programs. But, he stated that he will only support the coming legislation if it includes a provision that earmarks a percentage of these fresh revenues to support the state’s horseracing and breeding industries via the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

Thayer to The Blood-Horse…

“What’s not for debate is there has to be a component that supports the horse industry.”

Legalization to overlook online and mobile:

The State Senator detailed that the coming legislation will likely not touch on mobile or online services but instead deal only with the provision of sportsbetting at brick-and-mortar venues such as horse racing tracks. He stated that it has become increasingly important to act quickly given recent comparable legislative moves in neighboring states such as West Virginia.

Thayer to The Blood-Horse…

“I think we can put together a group of Democrats and Republicans to pass this bill. I don’t want us to be one of the last states to pass sports wagering. I want us to be one of the first ten states to pass sports wagering and I want it to support the horse industry.”

Gubernatorial support uncertain:

Finally, Thayer admitted to being unsure as to whether Kentucky Governor, Matt Bevin, will support the move to permit sportsbetting although he proclaimed that he is willing to work with the first-term Republican to get the activity legalized.

Thayer to The Blood-Horse…

“Governor Bevin has made a fairly benign comment about this issue and based on working with him I don’t think he’ll fight against it but I don’t think he’ll be out there banging the drum for it. Will he sign it? I don’t know. Will he let it [go] without a signature? I don’t know.”