Lawmakers continue to push for sports gambling in Kentucky

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 10:39 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A Kentucky lawmaker is hoping the upcoming legislative session will be the year the state finally passes sports betting in the commonwealth.

“I wish it would have been passed by now,” said Republican State Representative Adam Koenig.

Koenig, from Erlanger, has been pushing for Kentucky to legalize sports betting. He said an estimated $2 billion is wagered illegally in Kentucky every year.

Just this week, Ohio lawmakers passed a bill for it. Should it be signed into law, it would leave Kentucky and Missouri as the only nearby states still banning sports betting.

“In northern Kentucky you can drive across the river pretty quickly. If you live in Covington or Newport you can walk across the bridge or halfway across the bridge and probably place your bets in Ohio,” Koenig said.

It’s driving millions of dollars out of Kentucky that Koenig said could be useful for funding shortages. In a bill he filed for the previous General Assembly, five percent of the net money would have gone to addiction prevention and treatment.

“Last estimate, which was a conservative estimate, was that we were going to raise $20-25 million for the general fund, and we earmark that money to help solve our pension problems,” Koenig said.

Representative Koenig said he’s not giving up, and plans to file a bill for the upcoming General Assembly to legalize sports betting in Kentucky.

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