Online poker players in the U.S. are hoping to see more states enact regulation in 2015, but players in the state of Kentucky can likely stop hoping.
A Blue Grass State Senator has introduced a bill to ban online gambling, filing it under emergency status that would allow the statute to be in force immediately following approval of lawmakers. Sen. Mike Wilson (R-Bowling Green) submitted BR 229, which takes aim at the state’s Internet cafes.
The proposal seeks to clarify the current Kentucky statute regarding the use of electronic devices in placing wagers. Wilson takes offense at the fact that charitable gaming efforts by groups such as the Knights of Columbus, American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars have taken a hit at the expense of Internet cafes.
The Kentucky senator told WBKO News that he is a member of one of those organizations and has first-hand knowledge regarding charitable endeavors. Wilson’s proposal does not criminalize playing poker or gambling online, but is intended more to put a hurt on the cafes whose sweepstakes are cutting into the non-profit interests.
The current laws in Kentucky leave the state in a somewhat gray area with regard to what is or is not permissible in terms of gambling online. BR 229 is intended to clear up the vagueness of the law, outlawing online gambling that has seemingly proliferated at the Internet cafes.
Kentucky took aim at online gambling in the past, most notably in 2008 when the state attempted to seize more than ten dozen domains that were tied to igaming. The biggest sites operating were among those targeted, including the big three that eventually fell victim to the DoJ’s Black Friday shutdown.
While the Blue Grass State was not entirely successful, its efforts to wipe out those online gaming operators six years ago may have played a role in the feds going after several of them — PokerStars, UltimateBet and Full Tilt — three years later. We all know how that scenario played out, as it forever changed online poker and gambling in the U.S.
Despite being known for horse racing — the Kentucky Derby and its “Run for the Roses” has been a mainstay for 139 years, Kentucky has no land-based casinos. Efforts to expand gaming to include casinos have not gained traction in recent years.
Wilson’s bill will be debated during the 2015 legislative session. It’s filing as an emergency bill pertains more toward approval after passage than it does regarding when the proposal will be considered.