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Whether Kentucky lawmakers want to or not, they will be debating the sports betting issue this legislative session as five separate gambling-related measures are being filed, forcing Bluegrass State legislators to take on this topic once again after failing on it multiple times in the past.
Four of those five bills were introduced on Monday, addressing such issues as gambling addiction, the allocation of gambling revenue to benefit the Kentucky pension system, the handling of illegal “skill-based games,” and the legalizing of sports betting in general.
These are stand-alone bills filed by State Representative Adam Koenig who also has plans to combine them into one piece of legislation, telling the media that his goal is to give Kentucky residents all the advantages that come with a legal sports betting market:
“This bill would ultimately allow Kentucky adults to enjoy the entertainment of wagering on their favorite sporting events, while ensuring that the revenue associated with it goes towards our $27 billion pension liability.”
In a way, Rep. Koenig is preaching to the choir since the majority of Kentuckians are in favor of such a market.
Last month, one of the leading public opinion research firms, Public Opinion Strategies, conducted a poll and the results showed a majority of those Kentuckians surveyed, 65%, were in favor of legalizing, regulating, and taxing a sports betting market in their state.
That same poll indicated that only about a fourth of the Kentuckians questioned, 26%, were opposed to legalizing sports betting there, a clear sign that the resistance to this issue is slim and the state residents are mostly ready to move forward with legal sports gambling.
Almost half of Kentucky residents (48%) have placed a bet on sports before, but they have been forced to spend that money elsewhere since their home state won’t take their action, a reality that Rep. Koenig acknowledged earlier this week, saying:
“These bets are being placed today, and we’re shouldering the burden without getting any of the benefit.”
Seems like a no-brainer until you take a look at how this same dance has gone there in the past.
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May of 2018, giving individual states the right to decide if they want a legal sports betting market for their residents, and since then over thirty states have launched their version of that, including at least six of Kentucky’s closest neighbors: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Since 2019, there have been at least nine sports betting bills introduced to the Kentucky legislature, but none of them made it out of congress and onto Governor Andy Beshear’s desk to be signed, a string of failures that has not discouraged some lawmakers like Rep. Koenig.
It’s clear what a majority of Kentucky residents want, so now it comes down to the politicians who represent them to get it done, and they have until April 15 at the latest to do it or else it will once again be pushed back to the next session scheduled for later in the year.
We will keep you informed on this ongoing story so keep checking back for all the latest news and updates.
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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]More info on Mike Lukas
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