March 14, 2023 3 min read


Sports Betting Proposal Gains Traction in Kentucky

Although the proposal successfully passed the House vote Monday, its remains unclear if it will progress much in the Senate

Kentucky is one of the states that currently seeks to legalize wagering on sports events. Those efforts date back to 2018 when the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA, yet, proposals that call for the legalization of sports wagering haven’t made it all the way to becoming law.

House Bill 551 (HB 551), is one proposal that seeks to legalize sports betting at the state’s horse racing tracks. The tracks would need to pay a $500,000 fee, as well as contribute with an annual payment of $50,000 to offer sports betting. Those locations would be allowed to join forces with up to three sports betting providers that would offer online and mobile sports betting services.

The proposal, backed by Rep. Michael Meredith, gained traction earlier this week, after passing a vote in the House on Monday, a report released by the Associated Press reveals. In a 63-34 vote, the bill successfully passed the House and is now heading to the Senate.

However, keeping in mind the division of lawmakers and the strong support that the bill needs, it remains unclear if it will pass further in the Senate. To successfully clear the Senate, HB 551 would need to receive approval from three-fifths of the vote.

Sports Wagering Expected to Bring Benefits to Kentucky

Per HB 551, sports betting would be regulated by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. If legalized, the proposal would help bring a fresh stream of revenue to the state. At the same time, part of the funds that would be raised would be allocated for the treatment of problem gambling. The majority of the revenue is expected to boost public initiatives such as Kentucky’s retirement systems.

Republican Rep. Meredith, the lead sponsor of the new proposal, explained that legalization of sports betting is needed, considering that the activity is available in nearby states. “You literally just have to drive across the county line or cross the river to go take part in their programs,” he said.”

According to Meredith, the proposal is expected to deliver some $23 million in annual tax revenue. Additionally, he explained that the proposal is “taking sports wagering in Kentucky out of the shadows, out of the darkness and moving it into the light.”

Opponents of the proposal have also voiced their concerns already. According to Republican Rep. Chris Fugate, the legalization of sports betting may have a negative impact on families. What’s more, he pointed out that the proposal isn’t something that “Kentucky can be proud of.”


William Velichkov is a research-driven writer. His strengths lie in ensuring factual accuracy, vetting government documentation and reaching out to regulators and other officials. He is particularly fond of financial reporting, the sports betting industry, B2B partnerships and esports betting developments. William is a strong asset to the GamblingNews team as he adds a bedrock to our reporting.

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