A bill that could legalize wagering on sporting events and earmark tax revenue to Kentucky’s underfunded pension system received a hearing at a legislative committee meeting in Frankfort this week.
House Bill 175, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, would allow Kentuckians to not just wager on most sporting events around the country, but also set up a regulatory framework for residents to legally play online poker and fantasy sports contests, with the state receiving revenue from taxes, registration fees and licensing fees.
If passed, this bill would give the state the opportunity to make sure sports betting is done legally, safely and in a regulated fashion, where people can be protected. Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger reportedly told the House Licensing, Occupations & Administrative Regulations Committee that the bill would establish a wagering fund through newly taxed gaming revenue to administer the program, with 5 percent of the remaining funds going to a gambling addiction services program and the rest would be used to pay down the state’s public pension plans thru a fund that was established in 2016.
In this bill, sports wagering would fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, with only horse racing tracks and the Kentucky Speedway eligible to receive a license.
How it would work:
If passed, licensed venues would legally allow sports wagering on property, with a tax rate of 10.25 percent. Bettors could also go to these venues to download an app on their mobile devices. Although the app would have to initially be downloaded at the venues, after it is downloaded it could be used to place bets on sports at any location within the state with a higher taxed rate of 14.25 percent.
Like most other states instating legalized sports wagering, this proposed bill will put restrictions on wagering on college sporting games. Placing a wager on a college game would fall under a Class A misdemeanor under the bill, and tampering with the outcome of such games would be a Class C felony.
Although all are not quite on the same page yet for passing this bill, the committee plans to meet again next week, and at that time members could vote on the bill.