Kentucky Legislature

  • Rep. Adam Koenig, the sponsor of previous sports betting bills in Kentucky, plans to introduce a brand-new sports betting bill during the spring legislative session.
  • Sports betting is receiving support from major political figures in Kentucky, with all of Kentucky’s neighboring states having either passed or introduced legislation.

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky may be the next state to regulate sports betting after Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer told WKYT on Sunday that he supports legal sports betting.

Sports betting is currently unregulated in Kentucky, though there have been several efforts by lawmakers to craft sports betting legislation in the past.

In 2020, Rep. Adam Koenig introduced a sports betting bill – HB 241 – though it failed to gain any traction. Koenig subsequently re-introduced HB 241 during the 2021 sessions, again failing to gain the necessary support.

Despite lacking a legal sports betting industry, Kentucky hosts a relatively healthy gaming industry – horse race wagering is legal and immensely popular, and the state allows operators like DraftKings and FanDuel to offer online daily fantasy sports (DFS) games as well.

In 2022, it looks like Kentucky is ready to take the next step and regulate sports betting, with major political figures going on-record with their support. Thayer – the Kentucky Senate Republican leader since 2017 – told WKYT Sunday that he supports legal sports betting “as a natural extension of our long-term tradition of pari-mutuel betting on horses.”

Kentucky Risks Losing Tax Revenue Without Legal Sports Betting

With Ohio Governor Mark DeWine signing HB 29 into law on December 22, 2021, the only remaining state bordering Kentucky without a legal sports betting industry is Missouri. However, even Missouri pre-filed several sports betting bills to be heard during the 2022 legislative session.

As a result, Kentucky is losing out on millions in potential tax revenue as sports bettors in the state flock over state lines to place their bets in places like Tennessee or West Virginia – places that offer mobile sports betting to anyone inside of their state lines.

This fact is not lost on Thayer, who also told WKYT that if Kentucky does not act and pass their own sports betting legislation, the state risks becoming “an island” surrounded by states with legal sports betting industries.

Will 2022 Be The Year?

Sports bettors and lawmakers alike are hopeful that 2022 is the year in which legislators successfully authorize legal sports betting in Kentucky.  Koenig plans to introduce a completely new sports betting bill in the 2022 spring legislative session, which begins Tuesday and runs until April 14.

While Koenig’s previous sports betting bills failed, a major state legislative rule change may shift the odds into his favor for 2022. Beginning with the spring legislative session, the numeric threshold necessary for a bill to pass will drop to 50%.

This makes it much more likely that the sports betting bill – which is already receiving bipartisan support – gains the necessary amount of support to pass

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