Sports Betting Legalization Moves Forward in Kentucky


KentuckyThis week, an announcement was made that lawmakers in Kentucky have created a panel to explore sports betting.

It seems almost every week a new state announces their interest in the sports betting industry. Last month, the United States Supreme Court did away with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which resulted in the activity now available to every state in the nation. This week, Kentucky lawmakers have shown their interest in sports betting, with a new panel having been created to explore the industry.

New Panel

The panel consists of nine members who will be reviewing the idea of sports betting and then working towards a goal of drafting as well as filing legislation to implement legalized sports betting in the state. There are bills currently in both chambers of legislature, but they have remained in the same spot for months.

The panel will consist of lawmakers from both chambers, including both democrats and republicans. The representatives on the panel include: George Brown, Jason Nemes, Kim Moser, Diane St. Onge, Dean Schamore and John Sims. From the Senate, Julie Raque Adams, Julian Carroll and Morgan McGarvey will be part of the panel.

A few of the individuals on the panel have already been involved in dealing with sports betting discussions. Senator Julian Carroll has been heavily involved in sports betting legislation, having proposed a bill in the Senate in September of 2017. A House bill was created by Representatives Schamore and Sims, but it has stalled so far.

The Current Legislation

The bills in the House and Senate vary by way of what they would see take place in the state involving sports betting. With the Senate bill, the thoroughbred and harness operators would be at the forefront of wagering. The Horse Racing Commission would be in charge of instituting a system for wagering at the off-track betting and racetrack facilities. The total betting handle would be taxed at 20%.

For the House bill, the Kentucky Lottery Corporation would be in charge of overseeing the new industry with off-track betting facilities and racetracks still able to offer wagering, but retail lottery outlets would also be included.

For now, there is no guarantee that either of these bills will move forward. It may be that a totally new piece of legislation will be crafted to see sports betting come to life in a different manner. In a press release on the subject, it was revealed that the panel will focus on legislative efforts involving professional sports as well as limited occurrences of college sports, with no consideration on high school or below level games.

In the state, it has been estimated that as much as $26 million could be generated in annual revenues from sports betting, on the high end. Like other states in the US, Kentucky wants to be able to get in on the new gaming action early on, to hopefully gain a stronghold in the industry.

So, now it becomes a question of will or won’t they? Kentucky is not known for casino gaming as the state does not offer any facilities for wagering. However, the state is known for being the unofficially home to horse betting in the US. It remains unclear as to if there is enough support to help sports betting legislation push through and if the activity will actually be legalized in the state. We shall see in the coming weeks how the panel progresses and what becomes of their study of the new industry.