Ky. representative unveils several bills related to sports betting
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - There is renewed debate Monday of legalizing sports betting in Kentucky after a series of related bills were filed in Frankfort.
With House members from both parties, Republican State Representative Adam Koenig filed the legislation.
There are five bills in total that were filed. The first is simple. It would legalize sports wagering in Kentucky. The second is a pari-mutuel modernization, which would generate revenue for the general fund from historic horse racing. A third cracks down on the use of gray machines, the fourth sets standards to address problem gaming, and the fifth is an omnibus bill that puts all four previous bills into one.
Representative Koenig cited a poll that was released just recently about sports betting in Kentucky, where 65% of those polled supported the measure, while there are 26% against it.
When he announced the bills, Rep. Koenig said to him, it’s a no brainer.
He said in 2021, $6 billion were wagered on pari-mutuel betting, and $1.5 billion on lottery. He said $2 billion is wagered illegally every year.
Meanwhile, 33 states have legalized sports betting, including every state that borders Kentucky except for Missouri. Koenig said many are driving across the border to make wagers instead of leaving that money in the bluegrass.
“We can either bury our heads in the sand and tell people that they’re not grown adults and they can’t make these decisions, or like I said, we give them the opportunity to do so. We tax it, we regulate it, we make sure it’s done above board, and we give people protections from their government that they deserve,” Koenig said.
There are those speaking out against the legislation. The Family Foundation of Kentucky said they believe the bills are dead on arrival adding they don’t sense any desire from state lawmakers to expand gambling two years in a row. The Foundation also said promoted sports wagering will further impoverish Kentucky’s poor by taking money out of the hand of families and shifting it to the gambling industry.
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