Rep. Koenig Submitted Similar Bill In 2019
Legal Sports Report

Kentucky Sports Betting Will Get Another Shot In 2020 Legislature

Kentucky sports betting

A familiar name plans to take another shot at legalizing Kentucky sports betting in 2020.

Rep. Adam Koenig expects to introduce another sports betting bill in Kentucky’s next legislative session, which begins Jan. 7, according to WDRB-TV. The bill would include mobile sports betting and would also legalize online poker.

This next bill likely has a better chance for a few reasons after 2019’s attempt failed to make it out of committee. Next year is a budget year, where the legislature will set a budget for the Bluegrass State for the next two years.

The budget has a gap when it comes to pension funds, Koenig said. Potential for at least $20 million in annual tax revenue could help that shortfall.

Also new next year is Gov.-elect Andy Beshear, who defeated Matt Bevin earlier this month. Beshear is pro-gambling expansion.

That’s a stark contrast from Bevin, who recently claimed falsely there’s at least one suicide a night in American casinos.

Last year’s try at Kentucky sports betting

It sounds like Koenig might be taking a similar approach to his 2019 bill, given his $20 million floor for tax revenue.

HB 175 would have taxed retail sports betting revenue at 10.25% and mobile revenue at 14.25%. As much as $48 million in annual tax revenue was forecasted by a Commonwealth Economics study last year.

The previous bill also included legalizing daily fantasy sports. There was no integrity fee or official league data requirement.

That’s not how you do mobile …

It sounds like Kentucky may head down an unpleasant path with mobile sports betting: in-person registration.

The in-person requirement was included in 2019’s bill, and it sounds like it’s coming back next year.

“You would be able to go to one of the existing tracks and place a bet and/or go to those existing tracks, download their app and then you would be able to use that app anywhere in the state of Kentucky,” Koenig told WDRB-TV.

Sports betting results from Iowa and Rhode Island show how in-person registration can limit mobile handle and revenue growth.

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- Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.
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