Kentucky Passes New Legislation to Legalize Sports Betting

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After last year’s bill was stalled and sent back to the committee, Rep. Adam Koenig has once again filed a new bill to legalise sports betting in the state of Kentucky.

The new legislation, House Bill 241, is sponsored by 17 Representatives, led by Koenig. It similar to the one that Koenig sponsored during the 2020 legislative session, in that it core is to legalize sports betting in Kentucky. However, the new bill also lays out proposals to regulate online poker and fantasy sports.

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission as Regulator

The sports betting aspect of the bill would permit online, mobile, and on site wagering. The state’s racetracks and professional venues which have a capacity of 50,000 or more people would be eligible to receive licenses that would allow them to host sports betting at their sites. Initial licenses would cost $500,000 with an annual renewal fee of $50,000.

If passed into a law, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will be named as an independent body to regulate the conduct sports racing as well as horse racing and pari-mutuel betting in the state. Meanwhile, the state’s Public Protection Cabinet would oversee daily fantasy sports while the Kentucky Lottery Corporation will administer online poker activities.

Surrounded by Sports Betting States

Last year’s sports betting legislation, House Bill 137, unanimously advanced through the Kentucky House Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations (LOAR) Committee which is chaired by Koenig. However, it did not receive a single floor vote in the state House of Representatives.

Kentucky’s legislature has long been reluctant to expand gambling in the state but it is surrounded by neighboring states that offer sports betting. Five of Kentucky’s border states-Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia all offer sports wagering. The other two-Missouri and Ohio, want to legalize. With its neighbors enjoying tax dollars, Kentucky may be about to reconsider its position.