- Legal sports betting in Kentucky may come in 2021 if Governor Andy Beshear has anything to say about it.
- The Kentucky General Assembly started their session hearings on Tuesday and Beshear hopes a proposal for legalized sportsbooks gets presented and passed within the legislature this year.
- Beshear believes millions of dollars in revenue is being lost to neighboring states as long as Kentucky is without their own legal sportsbooks.
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Andy Beshear has spoken out in favor of legal sports betting in Kentucky in 2021.
Previous bills to legalize the pastime in the Bluegrass State have failed to gain any momentum within the Kentucky General Assembly to gain passage.
However, with the economy sustaining huge financial losses due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, Beshear is making it very clear that adding a sports wagering market could generate much-needed revenue for Kentucky residents and the local businesses that have been hit hard by COVID-19.
How The Governor Views Sportsbooks
While the Governor is advocating for legal sports betting in Kentucky, any legislation would need the approval of the General Assembly first.
However, during his interview on PBS’s broadcast of Governor Andy Beshear: First Year Reflections on Monday, Beshear made a valid point about legalizing a sports gaming industry in the Bluegrass State.
“I believe the time was right years and years and years ago when virtually every state around us, all Republican states, already have it,” said Beshear. “The fact that we haven’t done it at this point is not only silly but puts us at a competitive disadvantage.”
Along with sports betting, the Governor hopes to get casino gaming and marijuana made legal but thinks the starting point should be with sportsbooks.
Presently, Kentucky is losing money to neighboring states that have a legal market for gambling on sports. These states include Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
That’s five out of seven border states where sports bettors from Kentucky are contributing to those states’ overall revenue from their sports betting markets.
What The Outcome Could Be
While Representative Adam Koenig will once again take on the role of primary sponsor for proposals to make the activity of sports wagering legal, the session is only 30 days in 2021.
The Governor would like gambling on sports to make the docket but Koenig is less enthusiastic about how much time any bill on the issue will get because of the condensed schedule.
It is believed the primary gaming focus will be on historic horse racing (HHR) as the slot machines for HHR were deemed to be not within the confines of the current law by the Kentucky Supreme Court. So that will take top priority because HHR collected $33.8 million in revenue for the year prior to the judgment call.
But if any of this were up to the Governor, HHR and sports wagering would get easy greenlights within the Kentucky General Assembly and then he could gear the conversation toward full-fledged casino gaming. He credits these industries in other states with bringing in millions annually in revenue and Kentucky could use such resources.
Plenty of things need to be ironed out and discussed this session which began their opening discussions on Tuesday but one thing is certain, Governor Andy Beshear wants legal sports betting in Kentucky in 2021. The General Assembly must adjourn for the year by March 30.
News tags: Adam Koenig | Andy Beshear | Coronavirus pandemic | COVID-19 | Governor Andy Beshear: First Year Reflections | HHR | historic horse racing | Illinois | Indiana | Kentucky | Kentucky General Assembly | PBS | Tennessee | Virginia | West Virginia
Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.