The new legislative season in Kentucky is off to a hot start. Representatives Cherlynn Stevenson, Derrick Graham, and Rachel Roberts championed a new gambling act dubbed House Bill 106 on January 5th, 2023. The said legislation would hopefully legalise online sports betting, poker, and daily fantasy gambling.
How Would Online Sports Be Regulated?
The law would allow reputable operators to offer online sports betting and race tracks to partner with online sportsbooks. The bookmakers would, in turn, set up sportsbooks at the racetrack facilities and options to bet online and on track.
Tracks may offer wagering at two separate locations they own or lease, provided that they are located 60 miles from the racing grounds. Some of the sports that might be eligible for wagering under the new legislation include the NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, NCAA, NAIA, NASCAR, PGA, and other notable competitions and sports.
The price tag for a sports wagering license is set at $500,000, while the renewal fee would be $50,000. A 9.75% tax on the revenue will be levied monthly for race tracks and 14.25% on the revenue generated by online bets.
All online sports apps will have to be embedded with geolocation software to ensure punters are within Kentucky state borders while betting. Moreover, individuals associated with sports organisations and their family members will be barred from placing bets.
Online Poker and DFS Are Coming
Online poker and DFS gambling have also found their place in HB106. Online poker rooms will have to pay a $250,000 licensing fee plus an annual renewal fee of $10,000. The tax rate is set at 6.75% and applies to all fees charged to players, including the rake.
No person under the age of 18 would be allowed to participate in online poker gambling, and the same goes for DFS sites. The licensing process for DFS gambling would be available only to those operators with more than 100 participants. The application fee is $5,000, while the renewal fee is 6% of revenue generated from the previous year or $5,000, whichever amount is greater.
Bill’s Expected Timeline
HB106 is currently in the House and is not likely to move through any committees until the second half of February. This leaves lawmakers with less than a month to reach an agreement, which is something they haven’t been able to do for years.
The first time a sports betting bill passed in Kentucky was in March 2022, but it failed to get support from the Republican-controlled Senate.
During odd-numbered years, bills require support from two-thirds of both chambers to pass, and the lawmakers only meet for 30 days. The road to regulating betting in the Bluegrass State has become more difficult with Rep. Adam Koenig losing his House seat in the election. Koeing is one of the most ardent supporters of gambling and the man behind several sports betting bills in the state.