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Why hasn’t sports gaming come up for a vote in Kentucky?

House Bill 137 would legalize sports wagering and online poker in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — It’s the Friday before the Super Bowl and in some states, including Indiana, people will be able to legally bet on the big game. However, people who live in Kentucky will have to cross state lines to place a wager. 

A bill that would legalize sports wagering in the 'Bluegrass State' passed committee two weeks ago, but has yet to get a vote of the full House of Representatives.

House Bill 137 would legalize sports wagering and online poker in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It was sponsored by 69th District Republican, Representative David Koenig. It’s the second year he’s sponsored the legislation that did not move out of committee in 2019.

“We have a lot of people who still need to talk to their constituents and, look, it's a controversial bill and maybe I moved it a little quickly out of committee, didn’t give time to people to get a feel for what was going on in their district but you know”, said Representative Koenig.

Since the US Supreme Court ruling allowing sports betting on a state-by-state basis, 13 states have legalized it or it will become legal soon including Illinois, Tennessee and Indiana where Hoosiers can place their first legal Super Bowl bets this year.

So why has a bill that sailed through committee, and seems to have bipartisan support, not getting a vote in the House?

Representative Koenig admits to getting frustrated but said, “it's part of the deal. This isn't my first go ‘round, I've been here 14 years. I've had controversial bills on a regular basis and they're hard and they take time and sometimes you get frustrated but it's all worth it in the end when we get it passed.”

House Speaker, David Osborne, said he’s still hopeful that the bill will see a vote in his chamber. While no one will place odds on whether the bill gets to Governor Andy Beshear’s desk, he is betting it will pass. The Governor has allotted the money he thinks sports gaming will bring into the Commonwealth in his budget plan.

Click on Kentucky to find information on House and Senate bills.

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