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KY Ready for Sports Betting Bill after Losing Millions in Tax Revenue to Neighbors

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
3 min read
Kentucky Ready Sports Betting Bill
  • KY Rep. Adam Koenig to Sponsor Sports Betting Legislation During 2022 Session
  • Kentucky Horse Industry Wants Fair Share of Sports Betting Revenue
  • Legal Sports Wagering in KY Expected to Bring in $22.5 Million Annually

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KY Rep. Adam Koenig to Sponsor Sports Betting Legislation During 2022 Session

Looks like Kentucky will give legal sports betting legislation another shot during the 2022 legislation session, that’s according to Republican State Senator Damon Thayer, a tricky issue in a state where currently only pari-mutuel horse betting is legal.

The new legislation will reportedly be sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig and proposed during the 2022 session that starts January 4th, a bill meant to reclaim the tax revenue from betting dollars already spent by Kentucky gamblers in neighboring states where wagering is already legal.

Since that money is already being spent out-of-state by Bluegrass State punters, Sen. Thayer figures that by not regulating and taxing a legal sportsbook market it is costing Kentucky millions of dollars.

What [the existing sports betting scenario] is doing is sending the tax paid on Indiana sports betting to Indianapolis instead of those Kentucky dollars coming to Frankfort for us to spend on things like education, pensions, corrections, and Medicaid.

But there are a few interested parties now standing in the way of that happening in Kentucky.

Kentucky Horse Industry Wants Fair Share of Sports Betting Revenue

Kentucky already allows one version of legal sports wagering – bets placed on horses through pari-mutuel wagering – and those in the state’s lucrative thoroughbred industry have a huge voice in this ongoing debate.

Certain horse racing industry leaders like Ned Toffey, general manager of Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, do support the idea of expanding legal sports betting in Kentucky, but before that happens they want to be sure that they get a fair share of those potential profits, most likely in the millions of dollars.

Toffey has made his stance clear to the Kentucky public, saying:

I think there are sufficient gambling dollars to go around even if other sports do have legalized betting but, certainly the thoroughbred industry has worked on the gambling side of things for a very long time and so it’s very important that they’re able to maintain a stake in the gambling dollars.

The last time a similar bill was proposed was earlier this year by Rep. Koenig – House Bill 241 – which passed out of committee but fell short in the House by not receiving a full vote.

What more and more Kentucky legislators are gradually realizing is what more than half the other states have already figured out – their residents are already gambling on sports; they are just going to states where it’s already legal or using offshore sportsbooks to place bets.

The American Gaming Association has said that Kentuckians already place more than $2 billion worth of illegal sports wagers annually, which means state officials are “leaving money on the table,” according to Rep. Koenig, about $22.5 million in annual tax revenue, which is a conservative estimate according to some sources.

It’s too much money to ignore any longer, and Sen. Thayer believes his colleagues will eventually step up.

I think it’s just a matter of time whether we get it done this year or it waits until 2023, but the longer we wait, the more Kentucky tax dollars will be going over the border.

Check back for the most recent news and updates on this ongoing debate in Kentucky.

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Mike Lukas

Sports Betting & Gambling Industry Analyst

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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.
Nationality: American
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