Summary: Online poker legislation in Kentucky has died away, with H 175 being shelved for this year.
Online poker, daily fantasy sports and sports betting were under consideration in Kentucky, with H 175 providing the opportunity for the state to legalize several forms of gambling. The bill has been slow to gain any traction and has now officially been placed on the back burner for this year.
No iGaming, Sports Betting, DFS this year
Speaking with Insider Louisville, Representative Adam Koenig stated that while nothing is really dead until the session’s last day, the majority needed to advance H 175 and that has not been done. According to the representative, the plan is to regroup and reload with a plan that is better suited to win the hearts and minds of the public in 2020.
The state needs a simple majority to move forward and it will be a budget year where the amount of revenues that can be generated from gaming expansion will be seen as more important. The representative feels that the chances are better for next year to legalize online gambling in Kentucky.
With the measure, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission would be the overseer of the daily fantasy betting as well as sports betting operations. For online poker gaming, the Kentucky Lottery Corporation would be in charge.
For the bill to move forward, Keoing would need to find 31 more votes from the House, which has 100 members. The bill already has 20 co-sponsors, individuals who will vote in favor of the measure. A total of 51 votes are needed for a simple majority to be reached.
The state currently has a pension debt of $40 billion. The state needs to be able to come up with more revenues to be able to meet this huge deficit. The additional gambling options would easily help to get closer to that number.
In 2018, efforts were made to see the state begin the process of consideration for gambling expansions to help with pension needs. The state’s Attorney General Andy Beshear wrote a letter last year to Legislature of the state, calling for casinos to be legalized as well as sports betting, with revenues used to fund pension needs.
The comments by the AG did not help the bill on the table this year to move forward. However, efforts may be easier next year as Beshear is running for the Governor position in the state. An additional push may be provided by neighboring states.
For many states in the US, decisions are made based on their neighbors. For Kentucky, several neighbors are considering sports betting legislation or already offer the option. Nearby West Virginia already has sports betting services in operation and they are now working to pass online gambling legislation.
Other states are considering gambling changes as well including Ohio and Indiana, among others. If all the neighboring states move ahead with an expansion, Kentucky will easily fall behind. Residents of the state will take their money outside state lines in order to be able to wager online or with sports betting and other activities.
If Kentucky is to continue to state competitive, they must approve legislation involving sports betting and casinos. Hopefully, the option will be considered again next year the state will not fall too far behind others as they move forward with gambling expansions.
It will be interesting to see if Koenig will be able to garner enough support to see any type of gambling expansion added to the state or if efforts will continue to fall short. Only time will tell if enough lawmakers will back efforts to bring casinos and sports betting to Kentucky!