Kentucky legislators to propose new version of sports betting bill

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) – Kentucky lawmakers will give sports betting another shot at legalization this year.

Currently, betting on horse racing is perfectly legal, but betting on sports is not in Kentucky.

Kentucky Senate majority floor leader Damon Thayer says he and representative Michael Meredith are working on a newer version of a sports betting bill. Unlike prior years, it’s more narrowly focused on sports betting, so Thayer says things like fantasy sports and online poker are out.

They’re trying to give the bill the best chance to actually pass, because it is something polls show Kentuckians support.

So what are the odds this actually happens?

Well, last year, the Kentucky House passed sports betting out of its chamber, but it ran into a roadblock in the Senate, where it died on the last day of the session.

This year, it may be even a little it harder to pass the bill because it has a tax component to it, and there’s a higher vote threshold in 30-day sessions. So last year, it would’ve taken 20 votes to pass the bill in the Senate. This year, it’ll take 23, and that’s if it makes it out of the Kentucky House, because across the hall is where this bill has to pass first.

Thayer knows it’ll be difficult, but he’s hopeful. He says with so many other states having legalized sports betting, Kentucky is behind, and Kentuckians are going elsewhere to spend their cash.

Of course, not everyone is supportive of sports betting.

For example, groups like the Family Foundation oppose sports betting because of “the social harms to Kentucky families caused by the predatory gambling industry.”

The group goes on to say “government promoted sports wagering will only further impoverish Kentucky’s poor by taking money from the hands of Kentucky families and shifting it to the gambling industry.”

So the big question is, will sports betting be defeated again, or will it pass? We’ll find out over the next few weeks.