A bill that would legalize online gambling in the state of Kentucky passed through the state's House of Representatives with a 63-34 margin and will now move onto the State Senate for debate and a vote.
House Bill 551 would legalize online and retail sportsbetting in the state, letting gamblers bet on professional, college, and eSports. The activity would be open to those 18 years of age and older, and would be regulated by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Operators would have to pay a $500,000 fee, while the software providers would have to pay a $50,000 fee. The activity would be taxed at a rate of 14.25% for online operations, while retail would be taxed at a rate of 9.75%. 2.25% of tax revenues would go to support problem gambling initiatives, while the rest would go to other projects.
Verbiage in the bill would allow for nine operator licenses for each of the horseracing tracks in Kentucky, who could open their own retail book and partner with three white-label operators for online play.
Rep. Michael Meredith introduced the bill and commented on it, noting: "This does create a regulated marketplace for sports wagering, taking sports wagering in Kentucky out of the shadows, out of the darkness and moving it into the light."
The bill will now pass through to the Senate, where it will need a two-thirds majority to pass. If it moves through the Senate, it would head to the desk of Governor Andrew Beshear, who can sign it into law, or veto it and sent the bill back to the legislative bodies of the Bluegrass State.