Kentucky lawmakers did try but despite their better efforts, an attempt to pass sports betting legislation in the Bluegrass State came to a grinding halt on Thursday, as the state wrapped up its legislative session. House Bill 606 proved a resilient piece of legislation that, under the right conditions, could have brought Kentucky into the fold of neighboring states that already authorize sports gambling and reap the benefits of that in the form of robust taxable revenue.
The bill did make some progress but stalled in a Senate committee after. The Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor Committee showed the draft little love so much that senate majority floor leader Damon Thayer had to admit defeat. Thayer explained that the attempt lacked the necessary backing from fellow lawmakers to become a reality.
Thayer tried to whip up support with Rep. Adam Koenig working frantically behind the scenes and trying to appease fellow lawmakers into backing what both Koenig and Thayer believe to be a vital economic move for the state. Yet, the final day of the legislative session wrapped up without as much as a mention of the sports betting bill which means that Kentucky would have to try again next session.
On the plus side, it seems that the last hurdle to legalizing sports gambling remains in legislation that could influence the outcome of future elections. An online poll in Kentucky suggested that two-thirds of all consumers in the state were eager to see sports gambling legalized. Not all of them were gamblers either, with most citing concerns that people are already crossing the border in order to place a wager.
This resulted in the loss of valuable taxable revenue. Andy Beshear, Kentucky’s governor, made a public statement in which he seemed to accuse Thayer of not really putting as much work into passing the bill as he should have. "If he wanted to pass the bill, he would get it passed," Beshear said in a statement to the press.
Beshear was also confident that fellow Kentuckians do want to see sports gambling legalized. There are plenty of reasons why this is the case. Five neighboring states already have sports gambling up and running and are taking in Kentuckian sports bettors.
Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Virginia are all regulated sports gambling, allowing each of those states to benefit. GeoComply, the company in charge of ensuring that no out-of-state gambling happens in regulated markets in the United States, shared with Casino.org that at least 500,000 transactions were blocked coming from Kentuckian sports bettors who were trying to place a wager at one of the neighboring states.
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