Sports Betting Bill passes Kentucky House
A bill that would legalize sports betting in Kentucky, HB 551, passed the state House of Representatives Monday night. It’s a positive step forward for sports betting devotees, but Senate approval is expected to pose a greater challenge.
The Kentucky legislature is scheduled to end on March 30, giving state senators just a few weeks to pass the sports betting law.
HB 551 – the Sports Betting Bill – passes the Kentucky House by a vote of 63 to 34.
Next stop: the Senate. That is the challenge for this bill. Until the end of last week they had no votes there. But they are close. @LEX18News pic.twitter.com/DIDXCk13Lp
— Karolina Buczek (@Karolina_Buczek) March 13, 2023
Kentucky borders six states – Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia – all of which allow legal mobile sports betting. Bill sponsor Rep. Michael Meredith hopes Kentucky can capitalize on the potential tax revenues from legalizing sports betting.
“Not just six of our seven border states [legalized sports betting], but 46 of Kentucky’s 120 counties border a state that has legalized sports betting within its borders,” Meredith said. “You literally have to drive across the county line or across the river to participate in their programs.”
HB 551 would allow nine licensed racetracks in the state to offer retail and online sports betting. Each route could partner with up to three online sportsbooks, which could result in up to 27 mobile sportsbooks in Kentucky. An amendment to the bill eliminates the need for in-person registration for mobile betting.
Adjusted gross revenue would be taxed at 14.25% for online betting and 9.25% for in-person betting, with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission acting as the regulator. Meredith cited an estimate that when fully implemented, sports betting could bring in about $20 million in annual tax revenue.
A few proposed amendments were struck down in the House of Representatives on Monday. One of these would have banned depositing funds into betting accounts by credit card. Another failed amendment hoped to raise the legal age for wagering from 18 to 21.
The bill was recently successfully amended to send 2.5% of tax revenue to a troubled gambling fund.
Senate remains a challenge
Last year, a bill legalizing sports betting in Kentucky also passed through the House of Representatives, but the effort hasn’t been great failed in the Senatewhich could remain a barrier to passage.
Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear was an outspoken supporter of legalized sports betting. Beshear even called out Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer last year when the sports betting debate became contentious.
“My thought is if Damon Thayer wanted sports betting to be legal, he would push it through.” said Bescher. “It’s time. The people of Kentucky really want this.”
Thayer has previously said he supports sports betting initiatives but has struggled to get the votes needed to pass the law.
For a different outcome in 2023, the Senate will need to act fairly quickly, with just a few weeks left in the legislative session. The debate could continue into the final days of the legislature as sports betting stakeholders court the senators’ support.
https://sportshandle.com/sports-betting-bill-kentucky-house/ Sports Betting Bill passes Kentucky House