FRANKFORT, Ky. – Sports betting legalization is making waves across the country and Kentucky is trying to ride one straight to the Senate. Lawmakers have been meeting for a legislative session with sports betting as one of the proposed bills on the table. Time is running out though, as the session closes on March 28th.
The New Sports Betting Bill
Kentucky lawmakers have been brewing over House Bill 175 which would allow legalized sports wagering at horse racing tracks throughout Kentucky as well as the Kentucky Motor Speedway. The bill would assign the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission with regulating the wagering and would permit the activity only at licensed race tracks.
Another piece of the proposed bill would be to save the sports betting tax revenue to use for the state’s pension system, which is currently in about $40 billion dollars in debt. The bill did gain support from local firefighters and the Kentucky Coal Association.
More Support From The Bill
Among others who showed their support for the bill was U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from the Blue Grass State.
“I don’t think betting on horses is different than betting on a slot machine or sports, so I’m pretty open to letting adults choose what they want to do,” said Paul, speaking to Spectrum News.
“I’m not really for the government restricting gambling in any way. Cities can. Cities can decide if they want a casino here or there, and that’s up to cities.”
The Year Ahead For Sports Gambling In Kentucky
The 2019 window for the legislative session may be ending soon, but some still think the bill could pass. State Rep. Adam Koenig, a Republican and sponsor of the legislation, still remained hopeful that the sports betting bill would survive.
“Nothing is really dead until midnight on the last day of the session on March 28th, but needing a super majority of votes was too high a bar to get in a short time period,” Koenig told US Bets on Monday morning.
“We will regroup and reload with a better plan to win the hearts and minds of the public next year. We will only need a simple majority, and it will be a budget year where that $20-$40 million in tax revenue will look a lot more important. “
The year 2020 may be the year that House Bill 175 will reach the Senate. It will only need 51 votes next year instead of 60 to reach the Senate. If this year’s legislative session ends without any passing of the bill for legal sports betting, then next year may be its year.
Justen has been a writer his entire life; from short stories as a kid to screenplays as an adult, he loves the creative process. Justen received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University in Creative Writing/English. In his career, he has covered sports gambling with an emphasis on the legality of sports betting. He is an avid lover of sports, but especially the fight game and MMA in particular.