History Behind Proposed Sports Betting Bill in Kentucky
Sports betting in the state’s around Kentucky has been very popular since the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was unconstitutional. PASPA was passed in 1992 by the US Congress and a portion of this bill banned sports betting throughout the nation. States were pushing for sports betting to be legalized in the United States. In 2018, this desire became a reality when the Supreme Court ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional in a 6-3 decision.
There were sports betting advocates in the Kentucky legislature immediately following the PASPA ruling. However, no sports betting legislation has been able to be passed in the United States. Sports betting was first discussed in Kentucky in 2019. No bills were signed into law, but the possibility of sports betting in 2020 seemed extremely high.
Unfortunately, no sports betting legislation was confirmed in the state. Representative Adam Koenig led the fight to bring sports betting to the state. He proposed the failed bill in 2020 and he has stated that he will bring another one to the table in 2021.
Optimism surrounding sports betting isn’t very high in 2021 because of the year’s legislative schedule. It could be 2022 before a sports betting bill has a realistic chance of passing in the state legislature.
What Sports Betting Bill in Kentucky Says
The 2021 sports betting bill should look similar to the 2020 bill with a few changes. The 2020 bill was proposed by Representative Adam Koenig. Koenig is a Republican and the state’s biggest sports betting proponent. In 2020, he sponsored the bill HB 137. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear made it public that he fully supported HB 137 which made state residents hopeful that a plan would be put in place to legalize sports betting.
The bill made it through committee with ease, but it faltered in the House of Representatives. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission would regulate sports wagering under the bill. Retail sportsbooks would only be offered at horse tracks and the Kentucky Speedway in the state. It would cost these locations an initial fee of $500,000 to open up a book and a $50,000 annual fee.
Horse tracks and the Kentucky Speedway could offer a mobile book through their properties, but it would cost them a lot of money in taxes. Retail betting revenue would be taxed at 10.25%, but mobile betting would come with a hefty 14.25% tax. People within state borders would be able to bet on in-state college sporting events and teams. HB 137 designated tax revenue to go towards the state’s pension system. The estimated amount of income for the state from sports betting would be $22.5 million.
What’s Holding Back Sports Betting in Kentucky?
The topic of gaming isn’t a concern for the majority of legislators in the Kentucky House and Senate. The Governor of Kentucky openly supported sports betting, but public servants didn’t listen to his appeal to pass sports betting legislation in 2020. There were a vast number of concerns over Representative Hoenig’s bill. Eleven amendments were proposed for HB 137.
Members of the Kentucky legislature wanted a much higher tax rate for sportsbooks. The bill also dealt with online poker and daily fantasy sports. Legislators weren’t happy with the tax rates for these activities either. They wanted to substantially raise all the tax rates in the bill in order for the state to receive a larger financial benefit.
The state legislature wanted to give local governments the ability to opt-out of sports betting. This would give some residents easier access to sports betting than others depending on the town where a person lived in Kentucky. Finally, the opposition wanted to expand sports betting to local lottery retailers, bars, and restaurants throughout the state. This would also heighten the state’s financial gain.
These changes will be negotiated in 2021, but sports betting doesn’t look promising in 2021. In odd-numbered years, the Kentucky legislature only meets 30 days for the entire session. This probably won’t be enough time to get a sports betting deal passed in the state. 2022 is more realistic for sports betting to become a reality in Kentucky.
Sports Teams to Bet on in Kentucky
Kentucky doesn’t have any professional sports teams in the state to bet on. Kentucky is located between multiple states that have professional sports franchises. Some of the most popular teams of state residents are the Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, and the St Louis Cardinals. Despite this, there are so many professional franchises with a strong fan base in the state.
Kentucky is a state with multiple colleges that compete at the Division I level in football and basketball. The University of Kentucky and the Louisville Cardinals are the two colleges that have a strong level of support throughout the Bluegrass State.
Kentucky is a member of the Southeastern Conference and Louisville competes in the Atlantic Coastal Conference. Both schools have competitive football and basketball programs. Kentucky’s basketball program has been better than their football team over the years. The Wildcats’ basketball programs have won the National Championship eight times in program history. They have won countless SEC titles and consistently make a run in the NCAA Tournament.
Louisville basketball has won three National Championships. Their latest victory came in 2013. The team’s All-Time winning percentage is just under .670. The football team at Louisville is consistently playing in postseason bowl games. Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy at Louisville in 2016.
FAQ for Betting in Kentucky
Is sports betting legal in Kentucky?
No, sports betting isn’t legal in the state just yet. Sports betting has been proposed in the legislature in 2019 and 2020. Another bill will be pushed forward in 2021, but sports betting is more realistic in the state in 2022.
Does sports betting have a chance to be passed in 2021?
Yes, sports betting has a chance to pass in 2021. However, this is unlikely because, in odd years, the state legislature only meets for thirty days. Most likely, this won’t be enough time to pass a sports betting bill.
What’s holding back sports betting in the state?
Gaming isn’t a primary concern in Kentucky. Sports betting revenue will help the state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are still a lot of other issues that legislators have with past sports betting bills. Some members of the Kentucky government don’t believe the proposed sports betting bills have a high enough tax rate.
What’s the legal betting age in Kentucky?
The legal betting age in Kentucky is 18.
Where will sports betting be available?
Sports betting will most likely be available at horse tracks and the Kentucky Speedway. This is also a concern in the state legislature so more information will become available as negotiations continue in 2021.