Kentucky Sports Betting On Hold Once Again
House Bill 606 would have legalized sports betting in Kentucky. However, the bill didn’t have the support it needed in the Senate, as the push died on Thursday on the final day of the 2022 legislative session.
The Sports Betting Bill Didn’t Have Enough Support
Sen. Majority Leader Damon Thayer reiterated that he was for sports betting. He told the media that was outside the state chambers, “I think it’s a natural extension of our history and tradition of betting on horses in Kentucky, but I’m no longer going to give the reason. Find some of the people who are against sports betting and ask them.”
For Thayer, the announcement came as a surprise as the Senate didn’t conduct a formal vote on this initiative. The result didn’t go as planned, but he will continue to be an advocate for next year’s legislative session, which will begin in January 2023. He believes the outcome will change for next year.
Odd-number years will be a tougher task as 2023, in contrast to 2021, will require a three-fifths majority vote during a 30-day session. The lawmakers who support sports betting will need to garner more support within a year. Unfortunately, it’s the fourth year the legislation has fallen short as of right now.
The Bill Would Have Legalized Mobile and Retail Sports Betting
House Bill 606, which was sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, would have legalized mobile sports betting and retail sports betting at horse tracks across the Bluegrass State. Koenig’s bill, had it gone to Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk for consideration, would have allowed online poker and daily fantasy sports.
Koenig believes that establishing a sports betting market would have generated the state approximately $22.5 million in annual revenue. Kentucky has a long history of horse racing and legal pari-mutuel wagering. Gov. Beshear has also stated in the past that he supports bringing legalized sports betting to the state.
However, this will not impact authorized gambling on authorized horse racing that is still legal in the state, which is home to the annual Kentucky Derby that is held in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville. The race is also the first leg of the Triple Crown.
The bill faced heavy resistance in the Senate after the House approved a vote by a 58-30 vote. Senate Republicans outnumber the Senate Democrats 30-8. Also, sports betting and other types of gaming faced heavy opposition from those that reside in the rural part of the state that has a large population of conservative and other religious groups.
Kentucky House Bill 606 May Undergo Some Changes For 2023’s Legislative Session
Sen. Whitney Westerfield introduced 17 amendments to HB606 on Wednesday. This would need approval in the House before making its return to the Senate committee and the full chamber for a vote.
Kentucky will have to wait out a year once again as its neighboring states have or are pushing for sports betting. Residents that live near the Tennessee border don’t have to be near a casino as the state’s only option is mobile sports betting.
Sports betting is legal in Ohio, but it’s not operational in the current state. The law in Ohio states that Jan. 1, 2023, is the deadline to implement mobile and retail sports betting across the state. Missouri is the only state that doesn’t offer sports betting like Kentucky, but a bill is under consideration in its own legislative session.
Sports betting supporters in Kentucky will continue to argue that the state is losing out on revenue to neighboring states as many have crossed state lines. Also, nearly 532,000 attempts were made within the Bluegrass State in March to place wagers in nearby states. This shows that a large number of people want the market to launch as soon as possible.
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