Kentucky jumping back into legalized sports betting discussions
Rep. Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger) is hoping to make Kentucky sports betting a reality this time around.
The representative yesterday introduced several bills to legalize retail sports betting at licensed Kentucky horse tracks and the Kentucky Speedway, as well as legalize online sports betting in the state.
“People like to talk about freedom, well this is freedom. This is government getting out of the way and allowing adults to make adult decisions,” Koenig said during a press conference on Monday afternoon.
If approved, Koenig noted the bills project to upwards of $20 million in annual tax revenue for Kentucky.
Legalized Kentucky online, retail sports betting?
Koenig’s bill, HB 606, would effectively legalize Kentucky retail and online sports betting. The bills 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.
HB 606 would also legalize daily fantasy sports and online poker for the state.
Koenig said he’s unsure if the bills will pass, but he believes the votes are there this time around to legalize Kentucky sports betting.
“Certainly the votes are there on the House floor. It’s a matter of, as we discussed before, getting my fellow republicans to see the importance of it, the freedom aspect, the need to provide support and protections for our citizens. I’m hopeful, but I’ve learned that I may like and want to legalize sports betting, but I may not be the best line maker,” he said.
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.
Crackdown on gray slots
Koenig also introduced two other bills, HB 607 and HB 609, to be included in Kentucky sports betting. The first, HB 607, will modernize pari-mutuel taxation in the state and set a pari-mutuel betting tax rate at a uniform 1.5%. HB 609 will see the creation of a problem gaming fund to help combat gambling and gaming addiction in the state.
A final bill, HB 608, which was introduced by Rep. Killian Timoney (R), will seek to crackdown on “gray” slot machines in Kentucky, which are typically can be found in state slot machines or convenience stores.
Another bill will be an omnibus bill to include language from the other introduced bills.