Kentucky Makes Another Attempt to Legalize Sports Betting

After various unsuccessful tries, the lawmakers in Kentucky are taking another shot this year to legalize sports betting in the state.

Kentucky still hasn’t legalized sports betting, although its neighboring states have some form of sports gambling. This makes the state lose millions in revenue compared to other states.

House Bill 241 legalizes betting on pro, as well as on college sports, fantasy sports and online poker.
Northern Kenticky Rep. Adam Koenig sponsors the future legalization since gamblers can still go around the prohibition on wagering, which will lead to huge losses for the state.

According to him, anyone can go across the state line, or go to a bookie, or go to offshore betting account or to e friend who has an app in any other state where sports betting is legalized.

He added: “It’s that easy, and so we are leaving money on the table; we’re leaving our citizens without the necessary regulation to make sure they’re protected. And to me, none of that makes sense.”

Koenig’s bill has some significant support but none where it is most valuable. The republicans are against the bill and their explanation is that legalization might lead to gambling addiction and other problems.

The contra argument is that some of the money, which the proposal will generate will go straight to gambling addiction programs. Some of the rest will go towards Kentucky’s pension debt.

Koenig stated that, the bill would possibly bring around $22.5 million per year for the state, but he said that this is an estimate number and the profit might go even higher.

According to data collected by the American Gaming Association, the people of Kentucky place more than $2 billion in illegal sports bets a year.

Fees for Sports Betting License

If the legalization attempt is successful, anyone who wants to apply for sports betting license would have to pay initially $500,000 fee and an annual renewal fee of $50,000. Gaming licenses are only available to horse tracks, professional sports venue.

The same amount of fee applies to everyone who created an app through a registered track of professional sports venue.

For online poker license, the initial fee is $250,000 and the annual renewal fee is $10,000.

The tax rate implied over sports bets would be 9.75% in person or 14.25% online. At the same time, any city could decide to impose an additional license fee as they saw fit.

For fantasy contest with 100 or more people, the initial fee would be of $5,000 with annual renewal fee of $5,000.

The first attempt for legalization of sports betting in Kentucky was made back in 2019 when Attorney General Beshear announced his gubernatorial campaign. Part of his future program was the evolution of casino gambling, sports betting online poker Last Vegas style.

Almost two years later, Koening still isn’t sure when the bill will receive committee vote.

Source: “Lawmakers Might Take Another Shot at Legalized Sports Betting This Year”, Spectrum News, January 21, 2021

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