Kentucky Wants to Legalise Sports Betting

For online gamblers out there, Kentucky is probably most famous for its Kentucky Derby horse race, held annually in the state’s largest city, Louisville.

Now, the Bluegrass State is getting ready to make a bold and important step by making sports betting legal in 2019.

According to Republican Damon Thayer, the lawmakers are busy working on the sports betting legislation, which is likely to be prepared by January next year. That’s when the 30-day legislative session is scheduled to take place, and if everything goes as planned, that’s when the draft proposals are going to be discussed.

It’s expected that the sports betting revenue won’t be able to compete with the revenue generated by video slot machines, but up to a point, it could match the yield generated by casinos.

Commenting on the efforts to approve sports betting, Thayer said he believed both Democrats and Republicans would support the bill. He stated he didn’t want Kentucky to be one of the last states to pass sports wagering and added he wanted it to support the state’s horse industry.

Kentucky in line to make sports betting legal

Meanwhile, Pro Leagues Want Their Cut

In an article published earlier this month, the Lexington Herald-Leader revealed that Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, Professional Golf Association Tour and National Football League had hired lobbyists in order to influence the state’s lawmakers on the issue of sports betting.

This is a method already seen in action in other states that were or are now preparing to legalise sports betting. The biggest concern for the executives of the professional leagues to the so-called integrity fee, which is basically a royalty taken from the wagering of millions of dollars the professional teams play.

According to available information, the NBA, MLB and PGA Tour have announced their intention to fight for the integrity fee should lawmakers in Kentucky give the green light to wagering on sports.

It is estimated that around $2 billion a year could be paid out to pro leagues if every state adopts sports betting and includes an integrity fee.

The Push for Legalisation

Sports betting became a hot topic in the United States after the country’s Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), thus effectively ending the federal ban on sports betting, which had been in effect for more than 25 years. The court ruled the states themselves had the right to decide whether they’ll offer sports betting to their residents or not.

New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, and West Virginia are the only states, along with Nevada, to have launched legal wagering on sports since May, while the gaming companies are hoping to make the most out of this process. No wonder so many of them found the United States market so appealing since it holds a great potential. According to the American Gaming Association, the market could be worth up to $500 billion!

In addition to these five states, another three have adopted sports betting bills which haven’t come into effect yet, while 14 states have already introduced bills, but haven’t adopted them.