HB 551 moving to governor’s desk; announces intent to sign

Governor Beshear announced in a news release sent out earlier that he does intend to sign House Bill 551 at the state capitol tomorrow.
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 2:44 AM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Football, basketball, horse racing, you name it, odds are someone in Kentucky is a fan of it.

Though now it’s looking like sports fans may be able to make a bit more money from sports in the commonwealth, as House Bill 551 moves to the Governor’s desk.

“It’s a bill that would authorize legal sports betting in Kentucky through its horse racing tracks and through online sports betting apps and sites that would be associated with those tracks,” said Geoff Zochodne, sports betting analyst for covers.com.

Sponsors estimate the bill could bring in over $20 million in annual tax revenue, a sentiment echoed by Zochodne, who compared the roll out to that of a similar bill in Louisiana last year.

“Louisiana launched online sports betting in January 2022. So they’ve had more than a year now of online wagering, they racked up more than a billion dollars in total wagering over the course of that year,” Zochodne said. “That ultimately translated into more than $20 million in taxes.”

Though Zochodne said the trajectory of the roll out will depend on when the bill is fully passed and any deadlines that may be imposed.

“I think there’s a bit of a lag period when the legislation does come into effect, but if it does pass this afternoon, tonight, whenever it comes up for vote, if it comes up for a vote,” Zochodne said. “You’re looking at the potential of sports betting during next year’s football season if everything kind of falls into place.”

Main opposition to the bill is that it would create issues with gambling addictions.

Zochodne said that while addiction is a valid concern, were the issue to arise, the bill could easily be revised to remedy the situation.

“Once you pass a law, that doesn’t have to be the end of it, you can still go back and look at it,” Zochodne said. “Things can be tweaked, regulations can be re-examined, re-introduced, that kind of thing.”

An amendment has been added to the bill as well, that would send 2.5% of tax revenue to a problem gambling fund.

Governor Andy Beshear announced in a press release that he does intend to sign the bill when it crosses his desk Friday.