The odds are long, but Kentucky will take another stab at legalizing both online sports betting and online poker under legislation filed Saturday.
The bill, HB 241, comes from state Rep. Adam Koenig, who has sponsored proposals for the last two years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could legalize sports wagering if they wanted. Unlike most of its neighbors, Kentucky has so far been unable to get anything done.
There is no indication this session will be different, but it is of course not impossible. Even with long odds, the bill being filed gives Kentucky continuity on the online gambling issue. Currently, legal online gambling in Kentucky includes the lottery and horse racing.
Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat who campaigned on legalizing sports betting and online poker to generate new revenues, reportedly is not looking at those monies in a current budget plan.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is pushing a budget plan with no increased taxes, relying instead on a slight uptick in state tax revenue to avoid a renewed push for sports betting and marijuana taxation. https://t.co/bF9P2yUTaa
— Bloomberg Tax (@tax) January 8, 2021
Furthermore, the legislature is looking to come up with some sort of legislative fix for the historical horse racing machines, which were recently determined to be unconstitutional. This session is approximately one month long, giving lawmakers limited time to take on additional gambling proposals.
To complicate matters on the online poker front, Kentucky is still trying to collect a nearly $900 million judgement against PokerStars, one of the leading online poker sites in the fledgling U.S. regulated online poker market. The amount Kentucky is seeking is now $1.3 billion, due to interest.
All signs point to 2022 being the year when Kentucky has another real push on online sports betting/poker.