No white smoke came from the building of the local legislative authority on the clear Thursday evening. House Bill 606 would have legitimized sports betting and online poker had it not failed in getting the third reading in Senate. In fact, it never left the boundaries of the Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor Committee.
The Struggle to Promote Kentucky’s Betting Bill
Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, a strong supporter of the bill, managed to give the law-to-be two readings. This allowed Adam Koenig, the bill’s sponsor, to organize more support. The bill fell short of only around 4 votes on Thursday morning.
The General Assembly Session’s final day left a bitter taste in legal betting supporters. The bill passed the House of Representatives in March this year which fueled hopes that the Bluegrass State would finally join its neighbors in the club of legalized betting: an achievement from which a total of 33 states and the District of Columbia already benefit.
February polls revealed that two-thirds of the population of Kentucky is supportive of sports betting. Proponents of the bill across the state posted comments of dissatisfaction online. Some of them shared they were not surprised as it took, for example, Kentucky “forever to get Yuengling beer distributed”.
Hitting the Other Milestones
House Bill 606 was not unique in its fate. Koenig filed the bill he sponsored along with three gaming projects. Bill 608 whose mission was to ban gray machines also did not qualify. A problem gambling fund, which would have been founded through House Bill 609, will also not see the light of day. Bill 607, however, was the only one that received sanction for reorganizing the state’s pari-mutuel taxes for horse racing.
The Political Quarrel Behind
On Thursday both Koenig and House Speaker David Osborne bound the gray games law-to-be to sports betting.
During a press conference that preceded this announcement, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear questioned Damon Thayer’s sincere efforts on ensuring support for gaming expansion. Beshear pointed out that Kentucky’s neighboring states which were successful in passing sports betting have been led by Republican lawmakers. Thayer qualified those comments on social media as extremely biased. On the other hand, Senate President Robert Stivers established himself as a leading opponent of the bill.
“Postponing the Inevitable”
On the Session’s final day, Koenig said that the course of history can only be slowed down and what happened was just “postponing the inevitable”.
Legislative elections will be held in November and if the dominance of the Grand Old Party continues, Koenig would need the support of 16 Republican senators. The majority of the Blue Party representatives are expected to remain loyal to the sports betting cause.
The legislative session lasts for only 30 days, but Koenig could resourcefully address the senators’ attention and make perfect use of this time.