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Kentucky to reconsider online sports betting in new bill


Kentucky Republican Representative Adam Koenig has again filed legislation to legalise online sports betting in the US state.

House Bill 241 is similar to House Bill 137, filed by Koenig in the 2020 legislative session, in that its core aim is to legalise online sports wagering, but the new legislation also sets out proposals to regulate online poker and fantasy sports.

Currently with Kentucky’s House of Representatives’ Committee on Committees, the bill is being sponsored by a total of 17 Representatives, including Koenig.

The sports betting aspect of the bill would permit wagering online, mobile and at approved sports venues in the state, with consumers able to bet on professional and collegiate contests.

If passed into law, the bill would name the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission as an independent agency to regulate the conduct of horse racing, pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing and sports betting in the state.

In terms of fees, sports betting licences would cost an initial $500,000, plus an annual renewal fee of $50,000, with the Commission to oversee the licensing process.

Licensed operators would face a 9.75% tax on adjusted gross revenue on wagers placed at the track or professional sporting venues, as well as a further 0.5% to raise funds for the new Thoroughbred and Standardbred development funds that would be established under the bill.

Licensees operating online, on mobile or via other off-site technology would face a 14.25% levy on adjusted gross revenue from bets taken via these platforms.

The bill intends for the regulated Kentucky sports betting market to launch on January 1, 2023.

Meanwhile, operators seeking a new fantasy league licence would need to pay an initial $5,000 registration fee, plus a renewal fee of 6% of their adjusted gross revenue or $5,000.

Tax information for fantasy league operations was not disclosed, but the bill note that any operator which applies for a licence and is approved would be able to commence activities in the state from January 15, 2022.

In terms of online poker, operators in this market would face an initial licensing fee of $250,000. Licences would run for one year, renewable for a further fee of $10,000.

Operators would also need to pay tax at a rate of 6.75% of net poker revenue on a monthly basis. The bill did not make clear when online poker would become regulated in Kentucky.

Koenig existing House Bill 137 made it to the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee in March of last year before stalling and eventually failing to progress further.