Maybe this will help take a bit of the sting out of Kentucky losing to Saint Peter’s in the NCAA tournament.

Kentucky sports betting took a giant leap forward Friday afternoon as the state House of Representatives approved its sports betting bill by a vote of 58-30.

Rep. Adam Koenig’s (R-Erlanger) bill, HB 606, was approved by the House of Representatives and now moves to the Kentucky Senate. If approved by the Senate, it would then go to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear for his signature before it becomes law.

The bill was unanimously approved by the General Assembly’s Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations committee on Wednesday.

Huge sports betting hurdle passed

This is the farthest a Kentucky sports betting bill has progressed. Both Koenig and the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Alan Gentry (D-Louisville), have attempted to legalize sports betting in Kentucky for years. This is the first time a sports betting bill has been approved by either the House or the Senate.

Koenig’s sports betting bill, HB 606, would effectively legalize Kentucky retail and online sports betting and will now go to the Kentucky Senate. The bill will also legalize daily fantasy sports and online poker.

The Senate only has a few remaining “meeting days” to discuss and vote on the bill. Kentucky’s legislative session will end on April 14.

Legalized sports betting at Kentucky tracks

Sports betting will be legal at licensed Kentucky horse tracks, such as Churchill Downs, and the Kentucky Speedway if the bill is approved by the Senate and signed into law.

The bill sets the retail tax rate at 9.75% and online sports betting’s tax rate at 14.25%. His bill is very similar to a 2020 sports betting bill that he also introduced, but never received a vote at the House or Senate.

Koenig did not include an in-person registration requirement for online sports betting. In his previous bills, Koenig required online sports bettors to register an account at a licensed tracked or speedway before being able to download a sports betting app.

If approved, Koenig noted the bills project to upwards of $20 million in annual tax revenue for Kentucky.