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Kentucky Lawmaker Will Introduce Sports Betting Bill In 2020

Rep. Adam Koenig Announced Plans To Re-Introduce Sports Betting Legislation During The Next Legislative Session


Kentucky Capitol BuildingProponents of expanded gambling in Kentucky scored a big victory with Democrat Andy Beshear winning the state’s gubernatorial race weeks ago.

The state’s soon-to-be former attorney general was a vocal supporter of expanding gambling laws in the bluegrass state, expressing his support for bringing land-based casinos to Kentucky. State lawmakers that have failed to capture the support of the departing anti-gambling Gov. Matt Bevin now have an easier path to pass gambling legislation.

And the ball has already started rolling.

Republican Rep. Adam Koenig told Louisville Business First this week that he plans on filing a bill that will legalize sports betting in Kentucky. It would legalize sports betting at race tracks and through online/mobile apps.

Koenig filed a similar bill last February that would’ve also legalized online poker, but told the local media outlet that casino gaming isn’t the easiest to capture support for. The bill never made it to a vote.

In his opinion, sports betting has an easier path to legalization, and then other dominoes could fall afterward.

“It’s a big change,” Koenig told Louisville Business First. “Not a lot of changes get passed in the first year. We’ve had some more time to educate folks.”

According to the lawmaker, there will be a campaign in 2020 that will educate citizens on the impacts and benefits of legalizing sports, mainly added tax revenue to state governments. Beshear wants to use that added money to fund the state’s struggling pension programs.

Along with the support from the legislature, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce supports sports betting legislation. New CEO Ashli Watts wants it to be a priority of the legislature.

While Koenig didn’t offer any specifics of the bill, the one he introduced last February put the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in charge of regulating the sports betting market and would charge operators a $500,000 licensing fee.

It is a welcome change from the current legal landscape in Kentucky where residents are currently only permitted to be on horse races. Outside of pari-mutuel wagering, only charitable gaming is allowed.

In 2008, state lawmakers attempted to seize online poker domain names and are still in a legal battle with The Stars Group. Kentucky filed an $870 million lawsuit against the world’s largest online poker site in 2010 for operating in the state after the 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.