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Kentucky One Step Closer To Legalized Sports Betting
As sports betting and other forms of gambling slowly become legal state by state across America, Kentucky is the latest to pass a required bill in the latest move to make it happen.
Bill 606 would legalize online as well as in-person betting in the state, daily fantasy sports and online poker. It moved through the House floor last week and will now advance to the next stage.
Republican Adam Koenig, the bill’s primary sponsor, told us: “House Bill 606 … legalizes sports wagering and regulates it. It regulates the daily fantasy sports, which goes on openly on U.S. companies today, and it legalizes and regulates online poker.”
Whilst many states pass separate legislation for each product, Kentucky has tried to do several in one which could help or hinder it down the line.
Sports betting is legal already in many states that surround Kentucky so it would be a natural choice that punters don’t need to cross state lines in order to place a bet and that they can do so from the comfort of their own home, at the same making some welcome revenue that can be spent on fellow Kentuckians.
Rep Koenig quoted a statistic from the American Gaming Association which predicts that around $2b is already wagered illegally in the state every year.
Should the bipartisan bill pass, a tax on sports betting of 9.75% of adjusted gross revenue for in-person betting and 14.25% of adjusted gross revenue for online sports betting would be taken. These funds would primarily go towards the pension fund of the state.
Revenues of $22.5m in the first year have been quoted although this is expected to be at the lower end of the spectrum.
“Given how many states have exceeded their projections, I think $22.5 million is probably a minimum,” Koenig told us.
It wasn’t a unanimous vote by any means, however.
Republican Daniel Elliott told us that he is a big believer in personal responsibility, but voted against the bill.
“I think the appropriate way to deal with this issue and all issues of gaming in Kentucky and gambling is through a constitutional amendment. That I would support,” he said.
David Hale, also a Republican, said he would also be voting against the bill as it primarily aims to generate revenues that would come from some of the most vulnerable in society.
One person proud to co-sponsor the bill was fellow Republican Rachel Roberts, her colleague Cherlynn Stevenson, meanwhile, told us it is easily the issue her constituents have contacted her about in her four years in the house with around 99% of those people being in favor of introducing legislation allowing sports betting, both in-person and online, to become law in Kentucky.
The bill cleared the first hurdle by 58 votes to 30 and has now passed onto the Senate.