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Kentucky sports betting bill passes first committee


A bill to legalize sports betting in Kentucky is headed to floor of the House of Representatives after passing through the Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations Committee.

The bill – House Bill 137, which was introduced by Adam Koenig – would allow horse racing tracks and the Kentucky Speedway to accept bets on sports. Sports betting would be regulated by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and taxed at a rate of 10.25% when carried out in person.

Online betting would also be permitted, though players would need to register in person at a racetrack or the Speedway. Online betting revenue would be taxed at a rate of 14.25%.

Licence fees for sports betting would cost $500,000 initially, plus a $50,000 renewal fee.

A similar bill passed through the same committee in 2019, but was unable to win the necessary support in the House, as Kentucky’s constitution requires that all bills to raise revenue receive at least 60 votes in odd-numbered years. In 2020, however, the bill only needs to receive a simple majority.

While the bills mostly shared a framework for sports betting, the 2020 version will allow players to place bets on collegiate sports games involving teams based in the state.

The bill will now face a first vote on the floor, and if it receives the approval of the majority of representatives, will pass to the Rules Committee.

Hopes of a sports betting bill passing in Kentucky have been high ever since Andy Beshear won the state’s gubernatorial election by a margin of 5,150 votes, in November 2019. In September, Beshear promised he would significantly expand Kentucky’s legal gambling market by legalizing commercial casinos, sports betting and online gaming if elected.