Rep. Adam Koenig speaks to Mark Collier on HB 137 (Sports Wagering bill)
Adam Koenig (House Rep. District 69) is carrying House Bill 137, a measure to legalize sports wagering in Kentucky. Koenig said that analysts have forecasted that the bill could bring in $22 million dollars to Kentucky coffers annually.
The measure has passed (19-0) by the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Wednesday morning.
Under the measure, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission would be the state body that oversees sports betting.
It provides for sports wagering only to be permitted at Kentucky racetracks, a professional sports venue, or by an online or smartphone app.
According to the bill, some of the professional events that could be bet on include the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the Professional Golfers Association, NASCAR races and others.
College sporting events would include those sanctioned by the NCAA and NAIA, but not any games where a Kentucky team is playing.
International events such as the Olympics and World Cup soccer could also be available, if approved by the racing commission.
Several other events within a game to be bet on could be included, such as a coin flip before a game, the result of a putt, results of a baseball player’s at-bat, and the result of a field goal attempt.
The bill also places restrictions on who can wager, including participants in a sporting event.
Those who obtain licenses to operate a sports wagering venue would have to pay an initial $500,000 fee, with an annual renewal fee of $50,000.
The legislation defines “sports wagering” as the placing of wagers on the outcomes of professional sports contests and other events in conformance with federal law and as authorized by the racing commission at tracks and through advanced deposit wagering.
That language, according to opponents, leaves some wiggle room on the type of gambling that would be legalized, specifically where it says “and other events…as authorized by the racing commission.”
Similar legislation sponsored by Koenig won passage from the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee during the 2019 legislative session, but never came up for a floor vote.
This year’s version has 22 co-sponsors in the 100-member House.