Strong Opposition To Gambling Expansion In Kentucky

March 15, 2019 by Landon Wheeler

KentuckyHope is fading this year for legalized sports betting to be passed in the state of Kentucky. With only a few remaining session days left, it is very unlikely for the measure to even get to the state Senate.

Last month, Kentucky State Rep. Adam Koenig put forward House Bill 175, seeking to legalize sports betting, fantasy sports, and online poker in the state. The legislation was backed by 14 other Kentucky lawmakers.

The sports betting provisions include allowing sports venues and racetracks in the state to be granted licenses for sports wagering. Gamblers can also play through online platforms, provided they register for an account in person, rather than remotely.

The legislation will impose a 10.25 percent tax for retail sports wagering; a 14.25 percent tax will be applied to internet sports betting revenue. The bill hopes to maximize state revenues, while providing entertainment to Kentucky players.

LOCAL 12

 

However, there has really been no progress on the bill, and it may have something to do with the influence of anti-gambling religious groups which strongly oppose the bill. Adam Koenig isn’t giving up until the last day of session which takes place on March 28.

However, he admits that getting a supermajority of votes within a short period of time is close to impossible. Koenig would need to get 60 votes out of the 100 members of the House on the proposed legislation.

Next year is an even-numbered year, meaning a total of 51 votes will only be needed for a bill to pass the House and reach the Senate. Koenig’s bill already had 20 co-sponsors, so he will only need a little more than 30 votes to get the bill moving in the right direction.

Just A Matter Of Time

The representative from Northern Kentucky vows to come up with a better plan to effectively win the hearts and minds of the people of Kentucky next year. Koenig said the chances of passing a sports betting bill are high in 2020.

While opposition is still strong with regards to gambling expansion in Kentucky, gambling campaigners can find encouragement in the increased momentum and interest shown towards sports betting today compared to previous years.

It will be up to Adam Koenig and his supporters to educate both legislators and the public that sports betting is in many ways similar to betting on horse racing which is extremely popular in the state.