Kentucky Sports Betting Could Be Legalized in 2022, Adam Koenig States

Rep. Adam Koenig, who has been campaigning for legalizing sports betting in Kentucky since 2019, has expressed his frustration on the fact that the process is still in the works. A sports betting bill should now be examined during the General Assembly session this year, which started last Tuesday

Koenig’s Hopes Are Not High

While speaking to Casino.org, Koenig stated that he’s unsure why the bill hadn’t received the green light yet, but given the history, his expectations weren’t high. The first bill that Koenig drafted in 2019 was promising, however, its lights dimmed down when it went back to the committee towards the end of its session.

Then, in 2021, a sport betting bill that focused on historical horse racing was filed during the 30-day short session, but the Supreme Court ruled that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission does not have the authority to do this, and hence, gambling expansion plans were stalled once again.

Koenig stated that even though he is frustrated with the lack of success so far, he’s happy to file the bill. Since new legislative districts are set to be finalized for the new elections, Koenig told Casino.org that the sports betting bill will come a bit later in the session.

Kentucky’s General Assembly is set to adjourn in mid-April and even though there aren’t a lot of details concerning the bill, previous versions of it could be used as indicators as to what the current bill by Koenig might include.

For starters, previous versions included online poker and fantasy sports provisions and offered racetracks to feature both mobile and retail sports betting. Online wagers were to be taxed at 14.25%, while retail wagers were to be taxed at 9.75%.

Furthermore, previous versions had the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulating sports betting, which is something that is unlikely to change. In order to receive a license, professional sports venues had to hold a minimum of 50,000 people, which is a condition that the Kentucky Speedway fulfilled and decided to go after a license. The only problem here is, even though the speedway planned a major comeback, it hasn’t hosted a NASCAR race since 2020.

The cost to get a license in previous versions of the bill was $500,000 and the annual renewal came at a $50,000 cost. The minimum betting age was also set at 18 and added 0.5% tax from retail betting would be stored for money related to racing development.

As for mobile betting, the bettor was required to go to a land-based sportsbook that is partnered with a mobile operator and show proof of age before they can participate in these activities. With this tax plan, proponents stated that Kentucky could generate as much as $20 million annually.

The Sports Betting Bill Will Be a Great Challenge

Apart from Koenig, Damon Thayer, the Senate Majority Floor Leader, also supports the bill. While speaking to WKYT’s Kentucky Newsmakers last week, he said that the bill is just a natural extension to horse racing betting, which is something that has been legal in the state for over 100 years.

Thayer is hopeful that the bill will be passed shortly, but sometimes he also thinks that the process will take longer and that is why he feels like Kentucky will be among the last states in the US to legalize sports betting. Even though both Thayer and Koenig think that it is vital for the bill to be passed, some think otherwise.

Martin Cothran, a spokesman for the Kentucky Family Foundation, stated that his organization opposes this bill. Cothran stated his opinion by saying that Kentucky is “not a wealthy state.” Poor people are facing loans with high interests, drug issues, etc., so he doesn’t see how a sports betting bill would benefit the state. The KFF and other organizations hold massive influence, which is something that Koenig has acknowledged.

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