Sports betting legalization is once again being brought by Gov. Andy Beshear who has been trying to legalize the industry for years, arguing it could help the public purse.
KY Gov. Beshear Continues to Push for Regulated Sports betting
Gov. Andy Beshear has urged state legislators to come together and bring Kentucky closer to a regulated sports gambling market. On Wednesday, the governor delivered a statement in which he said that lawmakers must seek to introduce and pass sports betting bills in 2021, allowing consumers to benefit from gambling devices and use them at the state racetrack.
The statement came as part of the state’s legislative preview conference, setting out the goals for next year and explaining in detail what to expect. Gov. Beshear sees the regulation of the sports betting industry as an important source of revenue for a state now surrounded by neighbors who allow or are en route to legalize sports betting.
The governor and his father, Beshear Sr. have both been advocating for a legal sports industry in the state for the past decade, but as Democratic leaders, they have found it hard to convince conservative Republicans or even some of their party members to give their full support for the matter.
Republicans still have a super-majority in both the House and Senate, meaning that any positive outcome for the state hinges on Gov. Beshear appeasing political opponents and finding a consensus.
Placating the Opposition
Nevertheless, Republicans are likely to continue and say “no” to the governor, because of constituents’ concerns that gambling is immoral and it could lead to societal degradation. Meanwhile, Kentucky’s race tracks have had their historical horse racing machines contested in court, as a Kentucky Supreme Court ruling decided that they do not fit the definition of “pari-mutuel wagering.”
However, these machines still operate as businesses are awaiting a ruling by a lower court, which will flesh out details about the legality of these gambling products. The machines were first introduced back in 2010 by the state regulator, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and launched later, in 2012.
With less than three weeks to the new legislative session, Gov. Beshear hopes to see a united front on the sports betting industry legalization. He even chastised PokerStars in a newly-reinstated penalty against the company, arguing that “some of the wrongs” that Kentucky families had suffered because of the company would now be righted.