January 12, 2021 Sports Betting, Casino, Online

Kentucky lawmaker files sports betting legislation

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Kentucky state Rep. Adem Koenig has proposed legislation that would legalize sports betting and lay down the foundation for online poker and daily fantasy sports regulation.

House Bill 241 would grant sports betting license eligibility to horse racing tracks and professions sports venues with capacity of 50,000 or more. 

Retail sportsbooks would be taxed at 10.25 percent of adjusted gaming revenue, while online tax would be 14.25 percent.

Licensed properties would receive one retail and one online sports betting license. 

Keonig has proposed similar legislation in past years to no success. 

Though Kentucky has failed to pass sports betting bills in the past, lawmakers in the Commonwealth could be under more pressure to discuss such legislation after Gov. Andy Beshear publicly pressed for sports betting in recent weeks. 

“I believe the time was right years and years and years ago when virtually every state around us, all Republican states, already have it,” Beshear said. “The fact that we haven’t done it at this point is not only silly but puts us at a competitive disadvantage.”

Beshear, a Democrat, is sure to have some Republicans like Koening on his side but faces an uphill battle in a legislature controlled by the GOP. Republicans hold a super-majority in both the House and Senate. 

Kentucky’s conservatism has worked against sports betting bills in the past, but lawmakers in favor of legalization can now point to emerging markets in neighboring Republican-dominated states like Indiana, Tennessee and West Virginia. 

If a sports betting bill is to succeed, supportive lawmakers will need to work urgently to organize debate and a vote. The 2021 legislative session began last week and ends on 30 March. 

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