Kentucky Lawmakers Face Last Chance to Pass Sports Betting Legislation

Kentucky Last Chance

  • Kentucky Lawmakers Returning to Frankfort This Week Will Debate Sports Betting Bill
  • KY Governor, Chamber of Commerce Support Legalizing Sports Betting
  • Legal Sports Betting Would Redirect Homeward Money Already Being Gambled

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Kentucky Lawmakers Returning to Frankfort This Week Will Debate Sports Betting Bill

Time is running out for Kentucky legislators to finally pass sports betting bill with their current session needing to end by Friday, April 15, since in even-numbered years lawmakers cannot meet for more than 60 legislative days, bad news for Bluegrass State Bettors anxiously waiting.

Kentucky state lawmakers will be in the capital city of Frankfort this week with multiple items on their to-do lists, including handling the vetoed bills that Governor Andy Beshear rejected as well as making a decision on whether to launch a legal sports betting market for residents.

Were lawmakers and Gov. Beshear to pass a law allowing legal sports betting in Kentucky, they would join the over thirty other states who have gone down that same path, all benefitting now from a tax revenue stream that didn’t exist prior to that legal and regulated market.

But some state leaders object to the idea of adding sports betting to an already full Kentucky menu of moneymaking ventures like horse race gambling and the tourist revenue collected from being the bourbon capital of America, with Senate President Robert Stivers saying:

[Sports betting]’s not the main course when you start thinking about horse racing, and those things. It’s not going to generate a lot of money. I just think it creates a lot of division in my caucus. Because of that, I don’t really want to deal with the issue.

The issue does have plenty of supporters, though, including the governor of the state.

KY Governor, Chamber of Commerce Support Legalizing Sports Betting

A major supporter of a legal sports gambling market in that state is the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, a group tasked with furthering the interests of the small businesses across the state, something that their spokesperson John Cox believes can be done via this issue, saying:

It is a way to provide options for a skilled workforce, trying to attract businesses. And trying to attract talent.

In the past, Kentucky Governor Beshear has also shown his support of legalizing, regulating, and taxing the sports betting that he argues already happens, telling the press:

Everybody else has it. We don’t see major problems coming from it. And those are just dollars going to other states

It’s the same problem other states are facing, gamblers going to wherever it’s legal to bet.

Legal Sports Betting Would Redirect Homeward Money Already Being Gambled

Before the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in 2018, U.S. bettors found ways to place wagers, usually by using unregulated offshore sportsbooks or their local bookie who was technically operating against the law.

But now with so many other states legalizing sports betting for their residents, including Kentucky’s closest neighbors like Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Indiana, and Illinois, state leaders are tired of losing that money to outsiders, with KCOC spokesman Cox saying:

You see so many different Kentuckians from all over different areas going to different states, just crossing the border, placing a bet, and going back.

It’s a reality that forces the issue into being debated and the existing illicit sports betting market gives a solid argument for going ahead with redirecting that money back home, but with only a few days to decide, it might get delayed again until the next time Kentucky lawmakers meet.

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Mike Lukas

Expert on NFL

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]