New Kentucky Bill Would Legalize Sports Betting In Bluegrass State

Written By Dustin Gouker on September 20, 2017 - Last Updated on January 10, 2022
Kentucky sports betting

[toc]At least one lawmaker in Kentucky is looking to bring sports betting to the cradle of US horse racing.

It’s the latest in more than a dozen of states that have been considering legalization of sports wagering via their legislatures.

The Kentucky sports betting bill at a glance

The sports betting bill from state Sen. Julian Carroll was filed on Wednesday in the Kentucky legislature.

The bill would first require a change to the federal climate for sports wagering. The current environment is a ban on single-game wagering outside of Nevada, via PASPA.

According to the language of the bill, it “takes effect only if the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is repealed by Congress or is rendered void by the United States Supreme Court.”

While Congress is not poised to act in the immediate future, the Supreme Court will likely rule on the New Jersey sports betting case in 2018. That offers the possibility that states could legalize sports gambling, if the nation’s highest court says PASPA is unconstitutional.

More from Carroll here, via Kentucky Today.

What would the Kentucky sports betting bill do?

Carroll’s bill would “require the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to institute a sports wagering system.”

More from the summary of the bill, which largely hands over regulatory power and rulemaking to the KHRC; it would:

…declare it the policy of the Commonwealth to encourage the conduct of wagering on sporting events, when allowed by federal law, and to vest forceful control over sports wagering in the racing commission; include consideration of members of professional and collegiate sports organizations in the Governor’s appointments to the commission …

The bill also:

  • Establishes a licensing fee of $250,000.
  • Prohibits participants from wagering on a sporting event.
  • Establishes a tax rate of 20 percent on the total amount wagered, or handle.
  • Creates penalties for tampering with the outcome of a sporting event.

Full text and bill tracking here.

Kentucky, horse racing and sports gambling

Kentucky, of course, is one of the hotbeds for horse betting in the US and the home to Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby is run.

Race tracks around the country largely salivate at the possibility of driving customers through their gates via offering sports betting. States with tracks within their borders will likely eye sports betting as a way to drive interest, visitors and revenue.

Connecticut and Mississippi are among the states other than New Jersey that are already poised to act on legal sports betting.

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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.

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