Home Online poker GOP Votes ‘Neigh’, Blocks Kentucky Online Poker, Sports Betting Bill

GOP Votes ‘Neigh’, Blocks Kentucky Online Poker, Sports Betting Bill

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I’m disappointed. I am for sports betting. I want to make it clear that I did everything I could to get it passed, but I can’t force people to vote ‘yes’ on something they oppose.Legal online poker isn’t coming to Kentucky in 2022. The next year doesn’t look very promising either.

But, to hear sports betting proponents tell it, the political landscape should be more favorable in 2023, despite a pair of quirks in the state constitution that dictate when the Kentucky General Assembly meets and how much support a Bill must be passed in odd periods. – numbered years.

Supporters of HB 606, a bill that would have legalized online poker and sports betting in Kentucky, failed to make it out of committee on Thursday, the last day of the 2022 legislative session. The bill had been referred to the Senate Committee on the Economy. Development, Tourism and Labour, but it was never put to a vote.

A separate bill – HB 609, which called for the creation of a problem gambling initiative in the state, funded by $50 million from a $300 million settlement with PokerStars – also died in committee, the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee.

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Why Kentucky’s Online Gambling Bills Didn’t Pass

In a candid interview with Senate reporters Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) said he and other supporters of online poker and sports betting in Kentucky “don’t just didn’t have the votes” to get the bill. across the finish line.

“It wasn’t about not having enough voice in [the GOP] caucus,” Thayer said. “It was about not getting enough votes, period – Republicans and Democrats. In the whip’s latest count, the undecideds who have been worked on quite heavily by sports betting advocates over the past week, have all tipped to “no.”

“I’m disappointed. I’m all for sports betting. I want it to be clear that I did everything I could to get it passed, but I can’t force people to vote ‘yes’ on something they oppose.”

Thayer said he believed the General Assembly’s decision last year to legalize betting on historic horse races (HRH) may have torpedoed HB 606 and HB 609’s chances of winning passage this year. Lawmakers approved SB 120, which defined “pari-mutuel betting” to include races already held, in February 2021.

“I think it probably happened too soon after the HRH vote last year. Maybe next year – we will pass the elections, we will be two years younger HRH. We will welcome new members here. I think we’ll get more sports betting votes next year, really.

Reasons for optimism (and pessimism) for Legal Kentucky iGaming in 2023

I think defenders should be optimistic. Sports betting went further than ever at the Kentucky General Assembly.Building on that sense of optimism, Thayer said he’s “pretty energetic” that sports betting — and poker, presumably, since it’s included in the bill — will become legal in Kentucky. He praised Rep. Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger) for getting both bills out of the state House of Representatives. “It gave him more energy here [in the Senate] than ever before,” Thayer said.

“I think defenders should be optimistic. Sports betting went further than ever at the Kentucky General Assembly. It will always be very difficult because of religious concerns in rural areas in particular. We just have to keep trying.

But the passage will be difficult to hoe in 2023. The state constitution stipulates that the legislature only meets for 30 days in odd years, compared to 60 days in even years. This means that supporters of HB 606 will have half the time they had in 2022 to convince others to support similar legislation in 2023.

The state constitution also specifies that bills that would increase revenue — such as a KY online gambling bill — must have the support of three-fifths of lawmakers in each house of the legislature.

This could be a tall order, as it would mean an iGaming bill would need the support of 60 members of the state House of Representatives and 23 state senators. By comparison, HB 606 only got 58 votes when it passed the House on March 18. Thirty votes were against.

Considering that it would likely take at least a year to establish a regulatory framework for online poker and sports betting in Kentucky, it seems unlikely that either would be legal in the Bluegrass State. by the end of 2024. It’s also unclear which carriers would be interested in launching in Kentucky, a state that ranks 26th in population and has a population of about 4.5 million. Still, Kentucky’s population is higher than that of Connecticut and West Virginia – two states where online poker is legal, but do not yet have live operators.

This year marks the third straight year that a bill that would have allowed online poker and sports betting in Kentucky has died in committee.

HB 137 was introduced in the 2020 legislative session, while HB 241 appeared a year later. Both had similar tax rates and fee structures, but the latter would have allowed sportsbooks to partner with professional sports venues of at least 50,000 seats.