A committee of the Kentucky House of Representatives reportedly passed proposed legislation yesterday that could soon see the southern state become the latest to legalize sportsbetting, fantasy sports contests and online poker.
According to a Wednesday report from The Courier-Journal newspaper, the unanimous approval of House Bill 137 by the nine-member House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee means that the measure could now be heading for a vote before the Kentucky House of Representatives as soon as tomorrow.
The newspaper reported that the sportsbetting legislation is the brainchild of Republican representative Adam Koenig (pictured) and its subsequent passage by both the Kentucky House of Representatives and the Kentucky State Senate would allow those in ‘The Bluegrass State’ to legally place wagers on a range of sports including collegiate contests involving teams from the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky.
Koenig reportedly told The Courier-Journal that his measure would require the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to regulate sportsbetting in the state with only local horseracing tracks and the NASCAR-friendly Kentucky Speedway able to receive licenses for an initial $500,000 fee. The 48-year-old politician also purportedly detailed that Kentucky could expect to generate annual tax revenues from sports wagering in the region of $22.5 million with some 95% of this cash being earmarked to help support its underfunded pension system.
The newspaper reported that Koenig’s legislation would furthermore permit venues to extend the term of their sportsbetting licenses by paying a $50,000 annual renewal fee with all in-house wagers subjected to a 10.25% tax. The measure would purportedly moreover institute a higher 14.25% duty on all bets placed using a mobile device with 5% of any resultant revenues being set aside to back programs tackling problem gambling.
The Courier-Journal reported that 19 American states including Kentucky neighbors Indiana and West Virginia have legalized some form of sportsbetting since the United States Supreme Court invalidated the previous Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibition in May of 2018. With similar moves looming in Illinois and Tennessee and expected in Ohio later in the year, Koenig purportedly proclaimed that his state would soon be ‘largely surrounded’ by jurisdictions harvesting a share of the estimated $150 billion that is every year illegally wagered on sports nationwide.
Koenig reportedly stated…
“It has taken off quite quickly and obviously a lot of folks see the revenue potential and opportunity to allow individuals to do something legally that they are currently doing illegally.”
As to the immediate future and the newspaper reported that Koenig’s proposed legislation has a good chance of being passed by the 100-member Kentucky House of Representatives before facing ‘a significant hurdle’ in the shape of the Kentucky State Senate. Republican legislator Robert Stivers leads this latter 38-seat body and purportedly stated that he was largely undecided on House Bill 137 and unsure as to its approval prospects.
Stivers reportedly told The Courier-Journal…
“I’m neither for or against it; I’m somewhat ambivalent. I think it generates some money but very little in the overall context of the budget.”