Kentucky Moves Towards Legal Online Gambling Legislation

Summary: Kentucky is the latest state to see bills filed involving online poker gaming, casino gambling and sports betting.

While sports betting has taken the forefront as the main interest of gambling expansion in the United States, other options such as online poker and casino gaming are still in the mix. Just this week, it was made known that lawmakers in Kentucky have filed bills regarding online poker and casino gambling. Of course, the state is also looking into sports betting as yet another way to bring gambling dollars to the region.

In 2018, a special panel was created to study ways to expand gambling in the state, including sports betting. This panel is partially responsible for the new bills have been introduced for consideration.

Sports Betting

Let’s talk about sports betting first. S 23 is a new bill that Senator Julian Carroll is pushing that would legalize sports wagering in Kentucky. The bill would place the Kentucky Gaming Commission as the overseer of the new industry. Horse racing facilities in the state along with the Kentucky Lottery Corporation and other locations would be allowed to offer land-based operations. Aside from the lottery, other groups that offer services would have to pay $250,000 for licensing and taxes would be set at 25%.

Surprisingly, there are two more bills involving sports betting in Kentucky. H 171 would see sports betting removed from the list of options that are prohibited for the lottery. The existing law would be changed to accommodate the lottery for the new industry.

H 12 is another measure under consideration that only involves the lottery. It would modify existing law to allow the lottery to offer sports betting. The Kentucky Lottery Corporation would be the only operator and they would create the rules for the industry.

Online Poker Legislation

As mentioned, online poker is also under consideration. H 175 is a brand new bill that was introduced this week involving iPoker for Kentucky. The bill includes sports betting, card games and fantasy contests. Based on the language of the measure, online poker sites could set up a contract with the state lottery to offer their products online.

Operators of daily fantasy sports would have to pay a licensing fee of just $5,000 to offer services. This bill surprisingly does not include the lottery for sports betting. it does allow horse race tracks to offer historical racing contests as well as allowing professional sports venues to be created.

Licensing for sports betting would be set at $1 million with land based services taxed at 10.25%. For mobile and online services, the tax rate would be set at 14.25%. This bill has 14 sponsors including Representative Adam Koenig.

Even more is being considered with yet another bill, this time introduced by Representative Dennis Keene. H 190 would allow Kentucky to offer commercial casino gaming. The state would have four licenses up for grabs, creating four different commercial casinos in the state. Each casino could provide slots and table games.

Table games can only be offered at the free-standing commercial casinos. The bill would allow the horse racing facilities of the state to offer slot gaming after obtaining licensing. For casino licensing via this bill, the price would be quite high at $50 million per license. With the horse race tracks, $25 million must be paid for slot gaming.

With so many bills, it will probably be quite some time before one legislative piece is able to move forward. One would imagine it will take lawmakers some time to discuss the many options and find the right course of action for the state to take to expand upon their gambling offerings.


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