Sports betting legislation filed in Kentucky House of Representatives

Published: Feb. 9, 2019 at 4:18 AM EST
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A bill has been filed in the Kentucky House of Representatives that would legalize sports betting, online poker, and fantasy sports throughout the state.

The Supreme Court made the way for bills like House Bill 175 back in the summer with a ruling allowing the possibility of sports betting in all states. It is something sports fans have flocked to Las Vegas for for years.

"It is new and it is taking off in a lot of states. I'd like to see Kentucky be on the front end of this. It is an opportunity for us to provide something that frankly is done in the shadows all over Kentucky with bookies and you can get on your phone and do it on off shore accounts," explained bill sponsor Rep. Adam Koenig (R - Erlanger).

The bill does have bipartisan support with co-sponsors signed on from both parties.

"You would be able to bet on professional sports games and I think we are going to allow NCAA betting but not on Kentucky teams. So that provides some protection for those universities and those kids," said Rep. Koenig.

The 69th District rep says at this point this bill has more support than any other bill he has ever filed, "People are hungry for it. They don't understand why they can't do it legally."

This bill would not only legalize something that many in Kentucky already do but it would also generate some new revenue. Some of the funds going to gambling addiction causes, the rest going to the state's grossly underfunded pension systems.

"It is not going to fix the problem but it can be one of the tools in the toolbox to get us there," said Koenig.

If passed in to law sports betting would be regulated by the Horse Racing Commission, the state lottery would regulate online poker, and fantasy sports would be regulated by the Public Protection Cabinet. The legislation has been assigned to the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee. That committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday. It is likely the bill will be discussed and voted on at that meeting.