Kentucky Governor Joins GOP Lawmaker to Promote Sports Betting Bill

February 8, 2020 | Sports Betting

FRANKFORT, Ky — According to local media reports Democratic Governor Andy Beshear teamed up with a Republican lawmaker on Thursday in a push to build momentum to legalize sports betting in Kentucky.

The Associated Press reported Beshear and GOP Rep. Adam Koenig were joined by representatives of business, education and pension advocacy groups to call for passage of the sports wagering measure. The high-profile bill has stalled in the House since winning unanimous committee approval in mid-January.

The bill is needed to stop Kentuckians from flocking to neighbouring states that allow sports betting, the governor said. Time is of the essence because other states are taking steps to legalize it, he said.

Supporters of legalizing sports wagering got another boost this week when Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer predicted the measure would pass the Senate.

Beshear said the state can regulate sports wagering in a way to “stop people from going too far.

Sports wagering would create an estimated $22 million to $25 million in yearly revenue, AP reported supporters said. The bill calls for most of the money to support chronically underfunded public pension systems. A portion of the money would support gambling addiction services.

Other advocates for the bill at Thursday’s press conference included leaders of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Fayette County Education Association and Kentucky Government Retirees, a pension advocacy group.

Meanwhile, Thayer predicted the sports wagering measure has enough support to pass the GOP-dominated Senate.

The sports wagering bill is one of the few opportunities to not only have a bipartisan victory but also find some new funding for the budget needs that we have,” he said Thursday.

The bill would legalize betting on professional and college sports. People could place the bets at Kentucky’s horse racetracks and at the Kentucky Speedway or online through an app downloaded at the tracks. It would allow wagering on college sports teams in Kentucky — a provision that was excluded from last year’s failed bill. The new version would let people to bet on University of Kentucky and University of Louisville sporting events.

The legislation is House Bill 137.

SOURCE: The Associated press.

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