House Bill 551 (HB 551), a proposal that calls for the legalization of sports wagering in Kentucky successfully passed the Senate Thursday. Although the faith of the bill was unclear and there was a possibility for it to fail, in the end, it successfully cleared the Senate chamber after a 25-12 vote.
Given that it’s a proposal related to revenue within a non-budget year, the bill had to receive a minimum of 23 votes in order to pass. Despite the failure of similar bills, proposing the legalization of sports betting ever since PASPA’s repeal in 2018, HB 551 is the bill that will deliver legal wagering on sports for Kentucky residents.
Under the proposal, sports betting would be legal at the state’s racing tracks, bringing good news for fans of the Kentucky Derby. Moreover, HB 551 would introduce mobile, as well as online sports betting services, allowing bettors to take advantage of those convenient options.
HB 551 would require horse racing tracks offering sports betting to pay a $500,000 fee and an annual $50,000 renewal fee. On the other hand, mobile betting service providers would be subject to an initial $50,000 fee as well as an annual renewal fee of $10,000. The regulation of the activity itself would be in the hands of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
The Bill Requires a Signature from the Governor
Earlier this month, the proposal gained traction after passing the House in a 63-34 vote. Keeping in mind that now the bill cleared the Senate as well, its next stop is the desk of Gov. Andy Beshear.
Given that Beshear has long supported the legalization of sports betting, it is likely to sign the bill Friday. Once or when this happens this happens, lawmakers would need to set the planned date for the launch of legal sports betting in Kentucky. Keeping in mind the traction it gained recently, it is likely eligible customers in the state to be able to access sports betting at some point this summer.
“After years of urging lawmakers to legalize sports betting, we finally did it! Today’s result shows that hard work pays off.“
Gov. Andy Beshear
In a statement released via Twitter, Gov. Beshear shared his excitement. He explained that years of efforts are finally paying off with the legalization of sports betting. Moreover, Gov. Beshear said that finally, Kentucky will be able to provide a legal way for its residents to wager on sports and at the same time, use the tax revenue to fund public projects and help communities and schools.