No Legalising of Sports Betting in Kentucky in 2022

The American state of Kentucky is famous for its horse racing. However, a bill that would have seen sports betting legalised in the State this year has failed to make it through the Senate.

The bill sought to legalise not just sports betting but also fantasy sports and online poker. If passed, there would have been the opportunity to indulge in sports betting at licensed horse racing tracks in the state and other professional sports venues. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission were planned to be the sports betting regulator.

Players would have had to be at least 18 years old. Apps would need players to be within the state’s borders. Mobile betting would also have been possible, though not until next year. Now it will be 2023 before there is any chance of legalised sports betting in Kentucky.

The failure of the bill to get through the Senate will hit the state finances. The bill would have seen retail bets taxed at a rate of 9.75 per cent and online ones at 14.25 per cent. Now the taxman will have to wait before receiving any payments.

There had been estimates that around $22million a year could be raised in tax revenue. Other figures revealed that over $2billion a year is wagered illegally. The state will also miss out this year on the application and licensing fees of $500,000.

The bill had received 58-30 approval in the Kentucky House. All the Democrats in the House voted in favour along with some Republicans with 12 members not voting.

However, when the Bill arrived in the Senate, no vote was taken. This makes it four successive years that such legislation has failed to be passed. 2018 saw a US Supreme Court ruling declare that individual states could make the final decision on this matter. Many have done so but the wait in Kentucky continues.

The bill had been sponsored by Adam Koenig (Republican). His party isn’t overwhelmingly in favour of legalising sports betting. There are 22 more Republicans than Democrats in the Senate, so passing the bill is never going to be an easy task.

That view has been backed up by the Senate President Robert Strivers. He believes there simply isn’t the votes in the Senate to pass the bill. We haven’t concrete evidence that is the case as there was no formal vote.

Koenig said that not passing the legislation is a case of “postponing the inevitable.” Senate Majority leader is Damon Thayer, and he does support the legalisation of sports betting. He hopes that another sports betting bill can be introduced next January when the 2023 legislative session commences.