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With Kentucky’s recent Governor election putting a Democrat in the state’s top electoral seat, Republican Representative Adam Koenig hopes to resubmit his recently failed sports betting proposal up for reconsideration in 2020.
Rep. Koenig’s first bill passed the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee that he chairs, but the bill failed to go up for a vote before the legislative session ended this past year.
Koening’s hopes have been boosted by the recent electoral victory of Democrat Andy Beshear. The Governor-elect defeated Gov. Matt Bevin by an extremely narrow margin of 5,000 votes.
Gov. Bevin has been an outspoken critic of casino gaming in Kentucky but was non-committal about sports betting when asked about the hot-button topic.
Although Rep. Koenig has not yet met Governor-elect Beshear or possible members of his cabinet, he hopes the new Governor will be more progressive about wagering than Bevin.
“This is an opportunity for the new governor and I to work together to get something passed that can be passed,” Koenig said.
Koenig’s ultimately failed bill called for regulating sports betting through the state’s horse racing tracks and Kentucky Motor Speedway. The state, in part due to Bevin’s obstruction, does not have any casinos but is home to five thoroughbred track and two standardbred tracks.
Rep. Koenig will have a chance to resubmit his bill for review starting on January 7th of 2020 through the end of the session on April 15th. The 60-day session allows Koenig the opportunity to promote and debate the bill in the hopes of passing it on for Gov.-Elect Beshear’s approval.
In Rep. Koenig’s favor for this session is the recent passing of bills in three states that surround Kentucky. Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee all have passed their own legislation in recent months, with neighboring West Virginia offering online and in-person betting after a rocky start earlier this year.
Indiana began offering sports betting in time for football and recently posted a handle of over $91 million in bets made in their first month for more than $1 million in tax revenue. Throughout the Louisville area, advertisements for Indiana casinos and sports betting can be found.
Despite those three states recent success in passing their bills, Rep. Koenig doesn’t believe he’ll steal any ideas from their passed legislation. “I did a lot of research before I got this one done,” he told Casino.org.
If there is one area that Rep. Koenig believes could be altered it is a ban on in-state collegiate sports. A controversial topic for many states, those that have legalized betting have been split on whether to allow bets on in-state colleges citing potential integrity issues.
Koenig’s proposed bill does include the allowance of mobile sports betting, but like passed legislation in other states, it would first require customers to open an account at a physical sportsbook.
There are other competing bills that should also get attention in addition to Koenig’s with State Sen. Julian Carroll, a former governor, also preparing his own legislation. But Carroll, a Democrat, is outnumbered in the Senate 29-9, making Koenig’s bill more viable in the short term.
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