Online poker gaming is on the mind of lawmakers in several states within the US, including Kentucky. Earlier this month, Representative Adam Koenig introduced HB 137, a bill that will legalize online poker in the state. The measure was presented at the beginning of the session and is already moving forward. The bill is mainly focused on sports betting and fantasy sports, but a component was added to cover online poker as well.
The bill was approved last week by the Licensing, Occupations & Administrative Regulations Committee and will now be moving on to the next round of considerations. The committee is part of the House of Representatives and they had to review the measure first before it could advance.
Members of the committee voted unanimously to approve the measure, and with support already, it seems that Kentucky might be the next to expand their gambling industry. The unanimous vote is a positive sign that lawmakers are on board and that the bill has the ability to become law.
With the members of the committee plus those who are in the House, there should be around 40 votes to approve, according to Online Poker Report. A total of 51 are needed to ensure the bill moves through the House.
A Senate Bill in the Mix
Along with the House bill, there is also a Senate bill in the mix, SB 24. This measure is a competing sports betting bill. If the Senate measure is approved, and the House bill is also, the two chambers will have to work together to create a compromise bill.
The downside for poker fans is that the Senate bill does not include online poker gaming and only focuses on retail sports betting. The non-inclusion of online poker gaming in this bill could signify that the Senate will not be approving when it comes to the House bill, if it is moved to the Senate for consideration.
When it comes to sports betting, the two bills differ due to the Senate bill covering off-track sportsbooks while the House bill would allow betting at tracks and sports venues only.
The House bill puts the Kentucky Lottery Corporation front and center when it comes to online poker gaming. They would be in charge of overseeing the new industry if approved. The bill does not include anything about retail poker rooms.
Online casino gaming is also not included, but this makes sense as the state does not have land-based facilities to operate services. In other states, online casino gaming is allowed IF a land-based casino has an online operating partner.
Now we must wait and see if the legislation moves forward and if it will have to compete with the Senate bill. Its early still but the momentum is growing for the legislation to move forward at a quick pace.
We will stay tuned and report on any new findings as they are released.