A bill to legalize online and retail sports betting in Kentucky was unanimously approved by the General Assembly’s Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations committee Wednesday and will now move to the Kentucky House floor.

Rep. Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger), discussed the bill and two others – one that will allocate millions in funding for problem gaming and another to modernize taxation of pari-mutuel betting in the state –  during the committee meeting. Koenig’s sports betting bill, HB 606, would effectively legalize Kentucky retail and online sports betting and will next be heard on the House floor. The bill will also legalize daily fantasy sports and online poker.

Potentially legalizing Kentucky online sports betting

Sports betting will be legal at licensed Kentucky horse tracks and the Kentucky Speedway if the bill is approved by both the House and Senate.

“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,” Koenig said several weeks ago.

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.

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.