A new budget plan has passed in Kentucky but it does not mention sports betting.

  • A 2-year, $23.4 million budget has been passed in the Kentucky House of Representatives that does not include sports betting within their sources of revenue.
  • Governor Andy Beshear has spoken out about being in favor of legal sports betting in Kentucky which could bring in anywhere from $22-$45 million in annual revenue for the Bluegrass State.
  • KY HB 137, the bill that would make sports betting legal still has a chance in the House before the session ends in April and it would then be added to the budget for the state.

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky House of Representatives passed a two-year budget proposal without the inclusion of sports betting on Friday.

KY HB 352 passed in the mainly Republican House by a vote of 86-10. Many things that Governor Andy Beshear wanted to see within the bill were either cut or not included altogether in the $23.4 billion budget.

Beshear mentioned his disappointment in the House but KY HB 352 has not been set in stone just yet. It needs to go to the Senate next for their approval.

“I believe their version of the budget is fiscally responsible,” said Beshear, in response to the House’s changes. “While I would like to see more new revenue in it, there is some new revenue in it. We certainly are going to try to get some things back into the budget that would make it better.”

A $25 million annual tax hike on all vaping and tobacco products is seen within the bill, much to the public’s displeasure. Rather than increase taxes on these items, many members opted for the House to move forward with sports betting legalization which is estimated to bring in $22 million per year in revenue.

While legal sports betting has not been included in the budget’s draft, it does not mean that it won’t be in a future draft. Bill KY HB 137 would make gambling on sporting events legal in the state of Kentucky. The last time KY HB 137 was heard by the House was on February 21.

However, House Speaker David Osbourne assured members that Representative Adam Koenig’s (R-Erlanger) sports betting endeavor has not yet died out, meaning it could still move further along to eventually pass.

Koenig believes that the Senate will find that it will be difficult to make ends meet in the budget and that his bill has the potential to bring in about $45 million in annual revenue despite the $22 million conservative estimates by the House. Governor Beshear is an advocate for the sports betting market.

“That $22 plus million is the difference between vital services we will or will not be able to provide. I think when you put it into that context, that makes the decision a little bit easier for people,” said Beshear.

KY HB 137 was slammed with multiple amendments during its last hearing. But there is still hope for the bill to move forward in the House. The legislative session ends on April 15 so the movement of KY HB 137 would need to happen quickly.

If KY HB 137 passed, it would then be included within KY HB 352 and greatly contribute to the state’s budget. With Governor Beshear wishing to bring back some pieces to the budget, like an extra $2000 a year for teachers that the House cut, and his backing of sports betting in Kentucky, legalizing the pastime may be the answer for the Bluegrass State.

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