Representative Adam Koenig R-Erlanger.

  • A sports betting bill seeking legalization in Kentucky has stalled out in the House.
  • If sporting events were legal to wager on, it’s estimated that the Bluegrass State would see almost $22.5 million in revenue annually from the market.
  • Retail tax rates are set at 10.25% while mobile and internet platforms will see a rate of 14.25%.

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The fate of a sports betting bill in Kentucky’s House of Representatives is still unknown. The bill floated to the House after a unanimous vote of 18-0 from the House Committee on Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations.

This occurred on January 15 and the bill has not seen any progress since.

Why The Delay?

KY HB 137 would allow for both retail and mobile sports betting in Kentucky. Collegiate and professional leagues are open for wagers under this bill. The issue of legal wagering on sporting events in the Bluegrass State is one that has had many people stumped.

The Constitution forbids “games of chance” for legalization without an amendment to the over 100-year-old document.

However, it has since been brought to the attention of lawmakers that sports betting is not a “game of chance” but rather a “game of skill”. Games of skill are completely legal in Kentucky, which would mean that sports betting is already legal.

Representative Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger) is the sponsor of the bill. He believes that the delay of action is due to many of the representatives needing to speak with their constituents for their opinions on legalization. He maintains that sports betting is happening in the state of Kentucky whether it is legal or not so why shouldn’t the state profit from it while regulating it at the same time?

Those in the Committee that are not in favor of legalizing sports betting like Representative David Hale (R-Wellington) said, “It is going on. I’m not denying that. But I just think that it brings us another incentive that could cause a lot of problems.”

The original bill was amended to stipulate all the changes lawmakers wanted to see.

The opposition has been seen more from rural areas rather than the big cities. Urban areas are in favor of making the pastime legal.

“The opponents are trying to scare some people, saying the Senate wouldn’t take it up, and clearly that’s not looking like the case,” said Koenig. “So I think that gets us a little bit closer to getting it passed out of the House.”

Koenig is confident that his bill will pass into law before the session ends in April. He’s so confident in fact, he would bet on it.

Still, Koenig still needs to gather support to ensure he has enough votes on the measure. His plan is to be present at a press conference on Thursday along with the governor and others to make it public that they intend to make sports betting in Kentucky legal this year.

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