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Koenig Files Bill to Legalize Sports Wagering

Representative Adam Koenig, a Republican from Erlanger, filed legislation that would fully legalize sports wagering in Kentucky in light of last year’s Supreme Court decision allowing states to legalize the practice.

House Bill 175 would legalize sports betting, online poker, and fantasy sports. The measure includes betting on both professional and collegiate sports, with an exception for schools within Kentucky.

“In light of last year’s Supreme Court decision, it is time that we take the proactive step of providing adults the freedom to legally engage in sports betting,” Koenig said. “Kentucky has a chance to be ahead of the curve on this issue, while also potentially capitalizing on much-needed revenue gains without raising taxes.”

The measure includes safeguards in order to keep the practice within a tight regulatory framework, such as preventing minors from placing bets. Among other regulations, the legislation would allow the state’s race tracks to offer sports betting, both on-site and through a mobile app. In order to download the app, a user would need to go the track to sign up for it.

While there is currently not a fiscal note, Koenig has requested a revenue estimate from Legislative Research Commission staff. The bill calls for revenue gains after necessary administrative expenses to be earmarked for the permanent pension fund, with some money also being set aside for addiction services.

“By no means do I expect this legislation to produce a massive windfall of revenue into the state coffers that will solve all of our financial problems,” Koenig said. “But with numerous citizens already engaging in betting practices, it is time for the Commonwealth to reap some of that revenue, while also allowing adults the freedom to make their own decisions.”

HB 175 requires sports betting to be regulated by the Horse Racing Commission, online poker to be regulated by the state lottery, and for fantasy sports to be regulated by the Public Protection Cabinet. The legislation has been assigned to the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee, the committee chaired by Koenig himself.

You can view HB 175 in full here.

From the Kentucky House Republicans Leadership Staff