Published: March 22, 2022

Kentucky House passes sports betting bill

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky House passed a sports betting bill Friday morning.

This comes as the 2022 session of the Kentucky General Assembly is winding down. There are just nine days left to consider legislation, and several high-profile items are left.

House Bill 606 passed by a margin of 58 to 30. It would legalize and establish rules for most forms of sports gambling, including fantasy sports and online poker. The revenue raised would be used to support the state pension fund.

“House Bill 606 brings activities that take place all over Kentucky out of the darkness and into the light,” said Representative Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger.

Rep. Koenig says it’s been estimated that more than $2 billion has been wagered illegally on sports in Kentucky. 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it.

“I do not feel we need to go down this path. If the purpose is to generate revenue, I do not feel it will generate enough as far as that it will cost some of our most vulnerable in this state,” said Rep. David Hale, R-Wellington.

The bill now goes to the Senate where it is expected to face a much tougher road. Senate President Robert Stivers has said there is not much support for expanded gaming in that chamber.

There are three other bills that involve sports betting. One would use the Horse Racing Commission to regulate sports wagering, set a 1.5% tax on wagers, and set up a problem gambling assistance fund.

It comes a day after the House voted 59-34 to pass medical cannabis and a bill to prevent transgender girls from participating in female sports.

Also, still looming, is the state budget which is now in a compromise conference committee.

Out of hundreds of bills filed, just over a dozen have been signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear, including the name, image, likeness bill for student-athletes and House bill dealing with help for disaster recovery.

According to the legislative calendar, lawmakers will recess on March 30 for the veto session, return on April 13 and adjourn the session on April 14.

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