Sports Betting in Kentucky Takes a Step Forward

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A sports wagering bill has passed a House committee.

Members of the House Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations unanimously approved House Bill 137 Wednesday morning.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, would legalize sports betting, online poker and fantasy sports in Kentucky.

The legislation has some changes from last year’s bill and the version presented earlier this month. The major change in the committee substitute allows for in-state betting on teams.

Koenig says this done to help ensure passage.

“This had been the most common complaint from legislators and other people that they wanted to be able to wager on UK and U of L and the other in-state teams,” Koenig told reporters. “and all the arguments I make on the topic in general trying to push people to the legal market”

Those against bill say this goes against the Kentucky Constitution and should be done by a constitutional amendment and expressed concerns the tax revenue generated would not ever make it to the pension systems.

“There’s no guarantee the retirement gets the money just like what happened with the lottery when it was brought in, it was ten years before people released the system was not paying into the school system like it was supposed to,” said Gene Cole, with Kentucky League on Alcohol and Gambling Problems. “Same thing is going to happen with this unless it’s rewritten to say the that.”

It’s estimated sports wagering will generate $22.5 million annually in tax revenue.

The bill now heads to the House floor for full consideration.