Sports Betting Legalization Isn’t Dead Yet In Kentucky

Mar 29, 2022 at 6:06 pm
Kentucky's Capitol Building.
Kentucky's Capitol Building.

A bill to legalize sports betting in Kentucky that appeared to be doomed gained a little movement Tuesday, giving it a chance to pass before the end of the 2022 legislative session, even though the odds seem stacked against it.

House Bill 606, which would allow the racing commission to institute sports wagering in Kentucky, got a reading in the Senate Tuesday, giving it a path to get a committee hearing when the legislature returns after the veto period, which begins on Thursday.

On Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer told reporters that he planned on giving House Bill 606 a reading, but he said he doesn’t currently think that the legislation has the votes to pass the Senate. 

Earlier this month, the House passed the bill by a 58-30 vote. Shortly afterward, Senate President Robert Stivers said that he didn’t see it as important, and he said that the bill doesn’t seem to have a lot of support in the Senate. 

“To say that it’s a tax generator, it’s not,” Stivers told WEKU. “I think it’s just a small item on a menu for entertainment. So, it really created no energy with me. I just don’t think that there’s a lot of support for it and that there is much energy in my caucus or on this floor about that issue.”

After Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear will have a two week veto period before the final two days of the legislative session, April 13-14, when the Republican supermajority can override the governor’s vetos. They are also still able to pass legislation on those days, but they will not be able to override a veto from the governor for legislation passed in that timeframe, although it would be unlikely that Beshear would veto sports betting.

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