A Kentucky sports betting bill has successfully moved through committee and now finds itself on the precipice of being heard on the House floor.

Rep. Michael Meredith’s (R-19) bill, HB 551, was voted out of the Kentucky House Licensing & Occupations Committee this morning and now heads to the House. The legislation aims to legalize retail and online sports betting for the state’s nine horse tracks.

Meredith is confident he has the votes to pass his law in the House.

Kentucky sports betting has been here before

While Meredith seems hopeful that his bill has the support in the state legislature to pass, it faces an uphill journey this year. Kentucky odd-year sessions are limited to just 30 days and require a three-fifths majority for bills to be passed.

Meredith’s bill seeks to legalize retail sports betting at licensed Kentucky horse tracks, such as Churchill Downs, as well as online sports betting throughout the state. Each licensed horse track (of which there are nine in the state) will be eligible to partner with up to three online sports betting skins, allowing for a maximum of 27 operators in Kentucky.

This is the second year in a row a sports betting bill has reached the House. Last year, Rep. Adam Koenig’s (R-Erlanger) sports betting bill, HB 606, was approved by the Kentucky House of Representatives by a vote of 58-30. It languished in a Senate committee and never received a vote on the floor.

Meredith is hoping his bill stands more of a chance this year if approved by the House. His bill stripped online poker and daily fantasy sports from its language, which has been a point of contention for lawmakers in past sessions.

His proposed law gives the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission the regulatory power over sports betting in the state and the authority to award licenses. Tracks would pay an initial fee of $500,000 for a license and an annual renewal fee of $50,000 to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Sports betting operators partnered with tracks will be required to pay a $50,000 fee for a license and an annual $10,000 renewal fee.

Kentucky sports betting bill details

The bill sets the retail tax rate at 9.75% and the online sports betting tax rate at 14.25% on adjusted gross sports betting revenue.

Here are further details on the proposed bill:

  • Bets on professional sports, eSports, college events, Olympics, and amateur events will be allowed.
  • Residents age 18 and up will be able to participate.