Voters in Kentucky support sports betting but the bill itself could be on life support.

  • House Bill 137 would make sports betting legal in Kentucky.
  • A recent poll has shown the majority of residents in the Bluegrass State are in favor of legalization.

FRANKFORT, Ky.Kentucky House Bill 137 which would make sports betting legal in the state has not seen any real movement since its second reading on January 16 despite residents being in favor of legalization.

On Wednesday, the bill was recommitted to the House Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations Committee. With the session ending on April 15, Representative Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger), the sponsor for KY HB 137 is not sure it will go anywhere.

Kentucky Wants Sports Betting

Public Opinion Strategies asked 500 Kentuckians where they stood on legalizing sports betting in the state. The results of the poll done last week were released and showed that 66% of those surveyed are in favor of making the gambling on sporting events legal. Once they were told that 95% of all revenue gained from the market would go toward funding the public pensions system, the approval number jumped to 74%.

House Bill 137

Representative Adam Koenig is no stranger to sports betting bills. He introduced a similar bill during the 2019 session that failed to move to the floor. He is currently reliving that experience with his 2020 House Bill 137.

Under his bill, retail and internet platforms would be made legal for residents in Kentucky to wager on sports. Tax rates are set at 10.25% for land-based locations and 14.25% for mobile and internet applications. The bulk of the revenue would go to the public pension system for the people of Kentucky. It is estimated that $22.5 million a year would be gained by the sports betting market.

However, Koenig does not see the current movement to revive the bill while the session is still open as a good thing. After spending much more time being stalled out than what’s left on the 2020 Kentucky General Assembly calendar, he does not believe that House Bill 137 will go anywhere.

“It may not be dead, but it’s on life support,” said Koenig.

While his outlook on the bill is less than favorable, he will continue to fight to legalize sports betting in Kentucky this session. After learning the results of the poll and having been backed by Governor Andy Beshear in January who was in favor of KY HB 137, Koenig will continue on his quest for legal gambling on sports matchups in the Bluegrass State.

“I will keep running it until they kick me out of this place, and I may not leave until it passes,” said Koenig.

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