March 25, 2023 7:43 am

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A bill to legalize sports betting in Kentucky won Residence passage on Monday, setting up a Senate showdown on a proposal that creates divisions amongst the Republican supermajorities.

Previous efforts to legalize sports wagering in the Bluegrass State garnered Residence help but died in the Senate. It is a reflection of how divisive the gambling problem is in the state that is household to Churchill Downs in Louisville, exactly where the Kentucky Derby is run.

“This does develop 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,” mentioned Republican Rep. Michael Meredith, the bill’s lead sponsor.

The measure cleared the Residence on a 63-34 vote, but its prospects in the Senate are uncertain, with a larger procedural hurdle for supporters to overcome this year. It wants a 3-fifths vote in every single chamber to pass, given that it is a income-generating bill in an odd-numbered year.

Opponents dug in for the looming fight in the Senate. Immediately after the Residence vote, The Loved ones Foundation mentioned the sports wagering bill represents “a huge expansion of predatory gambling at a time when Kentuckians can least afford it.”

A important supporter of the bill, Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, mentioned later Monday that it is “going to be tough” to attain that larger threshold in the Senate.

“But initially thing’s initially, I want to attempt to get it out of committee,” Thayer mentioned in an interview.

Immediately after a number of years of coming up brief, supporters mentioned it is time for Kentucky to accept a type of wagering currently readily available in most of Kentucky’s neighboring states.

“You actually just have to drive across the county line or cross the river to go take aspect in their applications.” Meredith mentioned.

The bill’s opponents mentioned state-sanctioned sports wagering would develop much more social difficulties that hurt households. Republican Rep. Chris Fugate mentioned: “This is not legislation that Kentucky can be proud of.”

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“This is not excellent for Kentucky,” he mentioned. “It’s not excellent for households. It is not excellent for individuals. And I truly hope and pray we get to see some legislation that will bring jobs into east Kentucky and to the rural components of this state.”

If legalized, sports wagering in Kentucky is anticipated to create about $23 million a year in tax income, Meredith mentioned.

Residence Bill 551 would permit Kentucky’s horse racing tracks to be licensed as sports betting facilities for a $500,000 upfront charge and an annual renewal charge of $50,000. Participating tracks could contract with up to 3 service providers to supply sports wagering solutions at the track itself, or by means of on line internet sites and mobile applications. Service providers would have to spend $50,000 for an initial license, with a $ten,000 annual renewal charge.

Beneath the bill, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission would regulate sports wagering operations. Income generated from taxing such wagering would cover these regulatory expenses. A percentage of the income would go into a fund focused on dealing with challenge gambling. The leftover income following that would flow into the state public pension program.

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