Against All Odds, Sports Betting Becomes Law in Kentucky

April 2, 2023 | Sports Betting

FRANKFORT, Kentucky (March 31, 2023) –though it faced long odds on the morning of the last day of the 2023 session, a bill to legalize, regulate and tax sports betting in Kentucky passed through the Senate late Thursday and now has been signed into law.

The ‘Louisville Courier Journal’ reported House Bill 551 cleared the Senate ‘chamber by a 25-12 vote — needing a minimum of 23 votes to pass — and Governor Andy Beshear signed it Friday morning.

Under the bill, the Kentucky Speedway and horse racing tracks must pay a fee to operate as sports betting facilities, with bets allowed there and on licensed websites and phone apps. Wagers placed at tracks would have an excise tax of 9.75% and online wagers a rate of 14.25%.

Kentucky will now become the 38th state to legalize sports betting, with the law going into effect in late June.

On the Senate floor before the vote, Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said HB 551 would bring in an estimated $23 million annual tax revenue directed to the state’s public pension system, adding that Tennessee’s sports betting law brought in $68 million of revenue last year.

Governor Beshear tweeted on Thursday evening, “After years of urging lawmakers to legalize sports betting, we finally did it!” “Today’s result shows that hard work pays off. Kentuckians will soon be able to place their bets here, and for the first time, we are going to keep those dollars to support our roads and bridges, schools and communities.

At the governor’s signing ceremony Friday morning in the Capitol rotunda, Rep. Michael Meredith, the lead sponsor of the bill, said HB 551 “might be the most bipartisan bill that was passed this session.

SOURCE: Louisville Courier Journal.

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