Bill would legalize sports betting in Kentucky

Published 6:00 pm Monday, February 28, 2022

Legislation to legalize sports betting in Kentucky was unveiled Monday, part of a package of gambling-related bills added to the issues facing lawmakers in the final weeks of their session.

Similar sports wagering bills died in previous legislative sessions, reflecting the divisiveness of gambling issues in the Bluegrass State.

Supporters of previous bills estimated that legalizing sports wagering would generate about $22 million in yearly revenue. They say the measure is needed to stop Kentuckians from flocking to neighboring states that allow sports betting.

Republican Rep. Adam Koenig said Monday that legalizing sports betting would “take it away from the bookies and the off-shore accounts and give people of Kentucky the ability to do what they would like to do with their own money.”

Another bill unveiled Monday would make changes to the tax structure on horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering. Another measure would ban so-called “gray machines,” which look like slot machines and pay out cash prizes to successful players. The machines have been spreading to convenience stores across the state.