Kentucky introduces sports betting and online poker bill

HB 106 has three Democratic sponsors.
HB 106 has three Democratic sponsors.

Kentucky lawmakers introduced House Bill 106.

US.- After four years in a row with sports betting legislation failing to make it through in Kentucky, state lawmakers are making a new attempt. Representatives Derrick Graham, Cherlynn Stevenson and Rachel Roberts have sponsored House Bill 106 to allow online poker and sports betting in the state. 

If passed, the bill would add 26 amendments to the current law and enact 13 new sections related to online sports, poker and fantasy sports. The bill sits before the House Committee on Committees.

HB106 states sports wagering would only be allowed through a racing track or online through an app. Tracks could also offer wagering at two separate facilities that are within 60 miles of their facility. A sports wagering licence would cost $500,000 and would also come with a renewal fee of $50,000. A 9.75 per cent tax on revenue would be levied monthly for race tracks and 14.25 per cent on bets placed online.

Sports that would be allowed to be gambled on include the NFL, NBA, MLB, PGA, NASCAR, MLS, NCAA, NAIA and other nationally or internationally recognised sporting competitions.

The bill also seeks to legalise online poker and sports fantasy competitions. To get an online poker licence, operators would be asked to prove an effective use of geo-tracking software to ensure they can only accept players from the state of Kentucky. A license fee of $250,000 and an annual renewal fee of $10,000 would be paid. A tax of 6.75 per cent would be due monthly on all fees charged to players, including the rake.

Last year, the Kentucky state senate’s legislative session ended with no vote on sports betting legislation. House Bill 606, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, was approved in the 100-member House in a 58-30 vote in March. But the bill faced resistance in the Senate, where Republicans outnumber Democrats 30-8. Senate President Robert Stivers had said he didn’t believe the votes existed in the Senate to approve the sports wagering bill, and the bill didn’t get a formal vote.

HB606 would have allowed Kentucky’s licensed horse tracks, including Churchill Downs and Keeneland, to partner with mobile sports betting operators such as DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars. Licensees would have been allowed to offer in-person sports betting at horse tracks and two other track-owned facilities – such as a gaming hall or simulcast facility — through sportsbooks licensed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC).

See also: Two new Historical Horse Racing venues to open in Kentucky

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