Kentucky Lawmakers Consider Legalizing Sports Betting

A proposed bill would allow the state's horse tracks and Kentucky Speedway to apply for sportsbook licenses.

(Frankfort, Ky.) – Kentucky lawmakers are “kicking the tires” on sports betting in the Commonwealth.

The House Licensing, Operations, and Administrative Regulations Committee unanimously passed House Bill 137 last Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger), included some revisions from a previously drafted bill that would legalize sports betting.

One of the biggest changes was the removal of a ban on in-state college sports teams, according to Casino.org.

Koenig stated that keeping teams like Kentucky and Louisville off the betting board would likely lead betters to gamble in other states or perhaps with an illegal bookie.

Kentucky is currently surrounded by states that allow sports betting (Indiana, West Virginia) or states that have passed sports betting laws (Illinois, Tennessee).

The bill would allow the state’s horse tracks and Kentucky Speedway to apply for sportsbook licenses. The initial cost would be $500,000, with annual renewal fees costing $50,000.

However, the revenue could be big. Proponents for sports betting say the state could make an estimated $22.5 million in annual tax revenue.

House Bill 137 also provides the framework for Kentucky to regulate online poker and paid fantasy sports.

Governor Andy Beshear is among state leaders that are in support of sports betting.

However, some Senate leaders are concerned the bill would make way for casino gaming in the state.

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