Kentucky sports betting bill gallops to Governor

March 31, 2023
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The bill to regulate and legalize sports betting has cleared all hurdles in the Senate, passing 25-12.

In addition, since the initial publishing of this article, the Governor has now signed the bill into legislation, making Kentucky the 38th US jurisdiction to legalize sports betting...

Days after the American Gaming Association (AGA) sent a letter to the Kentucky Senate, a bill to legalize sports betting won final legislative approval. The measure was passed 25-12, which passes it from the Senate to Governor Andy Beshear

Beshear has been a long supporter of legalizing sports betting in the Blue Grass State. In a social media post, he said, ''Kentuckians will soon be able to place their bets here and for the first time.''

The bill’s status was indefinite for much of the 30-day legislative session. Because it's a revenue-producing bill in a non-budget year, a minimum of 23 votes was also needed for it to pass. Those supporting said that legalized, regulated and taxed sports wagering would generate about $23m a year in revenue and license fees.

Republican Senate Majority Leader, Damon Thayer, said during debates, ''We love our sports in the commonwealth. People want to be able to make the choice — of their own free will — to make a wager on a sports event, like almost all of our surrounding states.'' Thayer also said he thinks $23m was a low estimate of potential revenue.

Opposing Senator Whitney Westerfield said, “Ask yourselves, how much money people of Kentucky have to lose before we get that? There will be people who can't afford to bet, who will bet anyway.''

The bill would allow Kentucky's horseracing tracks to become licensed sports betting locations for, in Thayer’s opinion, Kentucky’s “time-honored tradition of betting on horseraces.''

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission would regulate sports wagering operations. Horse tracks could also contract with up to three sports betting operators for mobile and online services.

Revenue from tax on sports wagering would cover regulatory costs. A percentage would also fund help programs for problem gambling and the state pension.


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