Kentucky Rep Files Online Sports Betting Legislation Again After Failed 2020 Attempt

  • Poker and daily fantasy sports are also included in the bill
  • Online and mobile sports betting would be allowed, along with retail sportsbooks
  • The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission would regulate the industry
  • Governor Andy Beshear and members of the House support of the measure
Barrel labeled "Kentucky Bourbon Trail"
State Rep. Adam Koenig has introduced legislation to legalize online sports betting, poker, and fantasy sports. [Image:]

House Bill 241

Online sports betting legislation is on the table again in Kentucky. After seeing his House Bill 137 fail to gain ground last year, state Representative Adam Koenig is trying again in 2021 with House Bill 241. Introduced on January 9, its aim is to legalize online sports betting, fantasy sports, and online poker in the state.

The new measure has the support of 16 representatives aside from Koenig. The House bill now sits in the House of Representatives Committee on Committees for consideration.

Sports betting details

The bill would permit sports wagering online via desktop and mobile devices. The measure also allows for retail operations at sports venues and racetracks. Consumers will be able to wager on professional as well as college-level sports.

If the bill passes, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will regulate sports betting and horse racing activities. Operators licensing fees would start at $500,000, with renewals running $50,000 each year. Operators must apply with the Commission and receive licensing approval before services can begin.

funds going toward developing the Thoroughbred and Standardbred industry

Retail operators will pay a tax of 9.75% of adjusted gross revenue from bets at sporting venues or tracks. License holders must pay an additional 0.5%, with funds going toward developing the Thoroughbred and Standardbred industry. For online sports betting, license holders must pay a higher tax of 14.25%.

If approved, sports betting would launch at the beginning of 2023.

Daily fantasy sports and online poker

Koenig is also using his House Bill to push for the legalization of online poker and daily fantasy sports.  The fees and taxes are lower in each case than the online sports betting price points.

For fantasy sports, the registration fee is $5,000. The renewal fee will amount to $5,000 or 6% of the company’s adjusted gross revenues.

Operators who wish to offer online poker must pay a fee of $250,000. Each license will be valid for one year with renewal fees of $10,000. Taxes for iPoker are 6.75% of net revenues, payable monthly.

Governor pushing for sports betting

Rep. Koenig introduced the new legislation just days after Governor Andy Beshear gave his budget address. In his “blueprint” for a post-COVID-19 state, the governor called for the legalization of sports betting to help counter the financial impact of the coronavirus.

In his address, the governor stated that current laws restrict the state from growth and it is time for a change. Governor Beshear and the House seem to be in full support of Rep. Koenig’s bill.

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