Kentucky sports betting bill filed with online poker and DFS included

A bill that would drastically expand gambling across Kentucky has been sponsored by three democratic representatives, in a bid to resurrect plans that failed in the senate in 2022
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A bill that would drastically expand gambling across Kentucky has been sponsored by three democratic representatives, in a bid to resurrect plans that failed in the senate in 2022.

House Bill 106 was filed yesterday and was sponsored by Representatives Derrick Graham, Cherlynn Stevenson and Rachel Roberts

The bill would radically change the gambling laws in Kentucky, which is currently limited to race tracks that house HHR machines

As well as introducing both retail and online/mobile sports betting, HB106 would also see the introduction of daily fantasy sports and online poker in Kentucky.

What is in Kentucky sports betting bill HB106? 

HB106 is a similar bill to the HB606 sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig in 2022, in that it would introduce sports betting at race tracks and online, as well as DFS and online poker. 

Under the bill, bettors would be able to wager on professional and college sports across the state, including NFL, NBA, MLB, PGA, MLS and NCAA competitions, regulated by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. 

Those organizations wishing to obtain a license would be subject to a fee of $500,000 with an annual renewal fee of $50,000. A key condition of licensing is that geolocation technology is woven into any online app to ensure those using the app are within the boundaries of Kentucky.

Licensed race tracks would be permitted to partner with one online sportsbook provider, which would be allowed to operate both at the track in retail form and online via mobile wagering. 

Furthermore, tracks can offer two separate additional retail locations that it owns or leases, providing that it is within 60 miles of the track, not attached to the land. 

The tax rate imposed varies depending on how the bet is placed; retail sports bets would be taxed at 9.75%, whilst online sports bets would be levied at 14%.

Meanwhile, the bill would also seek to introduce DFS and online poker. 

The online poker regulations would impose a 6.75% gaming fee on all online poker vendors in addition to a $250,000 license fee and $10,000 renewal fee. 

The DFS regulations state that all competitions that attract over 100 participants must obtain a license, whilst those that fall short of 100 do not. 

Moreover, DFS operators must submit an annual record of their operations and keep them available for a minimum of six years. The regulations also stipulated that no employee or family of employees can enter the competition. 

What chance does the bill have? 

In 2022, Kentucky came closer than it ever has previously to passing sports betting legislation, when HB606 passed through the house easily but ultimately never made it to the Senate floor. 

As reported by SportsHandle in May 2022, Senate Floor Majority Leader Damon Thayer prevented the bill from being voted on in the Senate, reportedly because it did not have majority support from his GOP colleagues, despite having 22/30 senators in favor. 

Ultimately, Thayer denied this allegation but sports betting failed to be voted on as the final day of the house session passed. 

Whilst Thayer does remain as Senate Floor Majority Leader, and the bill remains similar, it is as of yet unknown whether the appetite has changed amongst the GOP in Kentucky to support sports betting, but one thing is for sure – this is as good a chance as the state will have to regulate.