Adam Koenig

  • Kentucky will not be seeing legal sports betting become a reality in 2021 as House Bill 241 died in the House.
  • Odd-numbered years in the Kentucky Legislature result in 30-day shortened sessions and require all bills to be passed by a three-fifths majority 
  • Billions of dollars are wagered each year in Kentucky by sports bettors according to the American Gaming Association.

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Legal sports betting in Kentucky will have to be a goal for 2022 because the bill that would have made it possible in 2021 is out as of Friday. By every indication, it was a slim chance to get House Bill 241 passed this session because the Kentucky General Assembly was looking at a mere 30-day schedule in 2021 to discuss every topic under the sun in regards to laws for the state, and sports betting was not a pressing enough issue to make the docket.

Bill sponsor and Representative Adam Koenig knew going into the session that KY HB 241 would likely not get done this year as he told LegalSportsBetting in February.

Historical Horse Racing (HHR) and its legalization for the Bluegrass State was the bigger subject to tackle for Kentuckians and that is in the process of getting done. This was Koenig’s second year in a row advocating to make sports wagering legal in Kentucky with the same proposal from 2020.

What’s Next?

The Kentucky General Assembly will adjourn for the year on March 30. HHR will continue to be a topic for the 2021 session as the state tries to save the industry that became illegal late last year because terminals at race tracks were viewed as slot machine style gaming by the Kentucky Supreme Court. Not only did it make millions in revenue for the economy but it also provided jobs to the residents of the state. Without the HHR market, both revenue and employment that was once had would be lost.

While a legal sports betting industry would bring in revenue and jobs just as well, it’s still only an idea and not something tangible, projections on paper not yet brought to life. HHR was very much an alive and running industry which is why Koenig along with other lawmakers in the General Assembly are actively trying to salvage it in 2021.

Looking toward 2022 for Kentucky sports betting, Koenig plans to use the same bill proposal for the third year in a row to present to the legislature. Both mobile and retail sportsbooks would be made legal under the proposal. A tax rate of 9.75% on revenue would be taken from land-based sportsbooks and a rate of 14.25% would be seen with mobile applications.

Professional and collegiate sports wagers would be open, along with internet poker, and DFS through the 2022 version of House Bill 241. The 2022 Kentucky General Assembly will be a better time all around to make sports betting legal in the state. Even-numbered years allow for longer sessions and a simple majority vote for passage rather than the three-fifths majority requirement in odd-numbered years to pass bills.

Until next year, Kentuckians will continue to wager on sports with legal internet sportsbooks. And although this is money lost for the Bluegrass State in 2021, Koenig is hopeful that his bill proposal will pass and give Kentucky legal sports wagering in 2022. From a gambler’s point of view, third times a charm.

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