Kentucky Sports Betting Bill Approved by House of Representatives

HB 551 now set for reading in the Senate

by - Wednesday, March 15th, 2023 9:25

Kentucky sports betting

The latest legislative move to legalize sports betting in Kentucky passed in the House and has now moved to the Senate.

HB 551, introduced by Rep. Michael Meredith, was approved by a House committee last week before passing through the House of Representatives by a vote of 63 to 34.

During the bill’s reading, Meredith stated that the American Gaming Association estimated that more than $1.1 billion is wagered illegally each year in the state of Kentucky.

However, opponents of the bill feel that it targets families and fails to create a meaningful contribution to the economy.

One of its opponents, Rep. Chris Fugate said:

“This bill didn’t bring any jobs to Kentucky. We’re gonna get $22 million in revenue for the state, 2.5% goes to the gambling fund, and we’re gonna lose, our people of Kentucky are going to lose probably $300 million.”

Prior to the vote, Rep. Josh Calloway attempted to add two amendments to the bill. These would have prevented the use of credit cards and raised the age limit to 21. Both amendments failed to garner enough support.

The bill will see the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulate sports betting in Kentucky, with only licensed tracks allowed to apply for a sports wagering license through the commission. There are also restrictions on those involved in any sporting event from placing wagers on any sport.

Although the bill now moves to the Senate, it still faces an uphill struggle to reach the desk of Governor Beshear. Last year, a similar bill passed through the House but failed to be read in the Senate.

Image credit: Don Sniegowski / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Jenny Tang

An experienced iGaming commentator and analyst based in New York City - Jenny reports on regulation and gambling industry news and events.

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