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Kentucky Rep. Preparing Sports Betting Bill: Online Poker Out, Problem Gambling In

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated January 25, 2023
8 min read
  • KY Rep. Michael Meredith Working with House and Senate on New Sports Betting Bill

  • Last year, KY House Passed a Sports Betting Bill That Never Got a Vote in the Senate

  • Kentucky General Assembly Sessions Includes Pauses to Work on Bills

Kentucky Sports Betting Bill

KY Rep. Michael Meredith Working with House and Senate on New Sports Betting Bill

Kentucky sports bettors have plenty of ways to place wagers, only none of them are legal or in the state, their best options for betting action being to use unregulated offshore sportsbooks or illegal bookies or for those near the border, drive to a nearby state where that is already legal.

Now all that could soon change, according to sports betting reporter Steve Bittenbender of Casino.org, whose recent report tracked the moves of State Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Oakland, who is working on a new bill that would legalize sports betting in the Bluegrass State.

It’s a cause started there by former state Rep. Adam Koenig who made several efforts in the past to get the legal sports betting issue up for a vote, but so far Kentucky remains one of the less than twenty U.S. states still without its own sports gambling market.

The details of the bill are not known yet, but Casino.org reports that the issue of online poker will likely not be included since more Senate votes could be picked up that way, and the battle against Problem Gambling will reportedly be addressed with a problem gambling fund.

Rep. Meredith told Casino.org:

“I think most of us think that [problem gambling] needs to be handled in some kind of a comprehensive fashion. Either the state creating a pot of money through the budget for that or all forms of gaming taking part.”

Other state lawmakers are reportedly equally interested, including Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, who included expanded gaming in his platform during his 2019 election campaign, the perfect ally at the top to help pass a bill that has already failed there in 2022.

Last year, KY House Passed a Sports Betting Bill That Never Got a Vote in the Senate

Rep. Bittenbender will work with House Speaker David Osborne and Sen. Maj. Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, in support of this latest effort after a similar move last year fell short, never receiving a vote in the state Senate, reportedly short of the votes they needed.

With regards to his cooperation with other state lawmakers on this contentious issue, Rep. Meredith told Casino.org:

“Sen. Thayer and I are communicating every couple or three days right now back and forth on different things that have popped up in discussions with the industry and other folks who have brought ideas to me.”

Kentucky’s 2023 legislative session has already begun at the start of January, but in that state the General Assembly does things a bit differently.

Kentucky General Assembly Sessions Include Pauses to Work on Bills

As Bittenbender explains it in his piece, in odd-year sessions, Kentucky legislators meet for 30 days spread out over three months with four-week breaks for lawmakers to “work on drafts of potential bills, which could be filed after the legislature reconvenes on February 7.”

Meanwhile, Kentucky gamblers continue to find other ways of placing bets and they risk using unregulated means that cannot be held legally responsible during disputes, that money untaxed and flowing out of state until KY and industry leaders can reach some type of compromise.

Keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on this ongoing story.

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Mike Lukas

1205 Articles

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]

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