Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Throws Cold Water On Sports Betting Hopes
Don’t start downloading any sports betting apps just yet, Kentucky.
Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer (R-17), in an interview with WLKY in Kentucky, made some sobering comments on the chances for legalized Kentucky sports betting.
In the interview, Thayer noted that he is a proponent of sports betting, but there is “an awful lot of anti-betting sentiment” in the Senate and the chances for the bill’s passage is in doubt.
Will the Kentucky Senate hear the sports betting bill?
Thayer said he wasn’t even sure if the sports betting bill would receive a hearing in a Senate committee, let alone on the full Senate floor.
“I think it’s a natural extension of our long history and tradition of betting pari-mutuelly on horses, which is a form of sports betting in my opinion. But there’s still a lot of anti-gambling sentiment in this building,” Thayer said.
The Kentucky House of Representatives approved its sports betting bill by a vote of 58-30 last week. Rep. Adam Koenig’s (R-Erlanger) bill, HB 606, will now move 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.
But Kentucky is running out of time if they hope to legalize sports betting in this legislative session. The Senate will have to pass the bill before March 30 if they hope to be able to override a possible veto by the governor. The state’s legislative session will also end on April 14.
Huge sports betting hurdle passed with House approval
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.
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.