The bill for Kentucky sports betting passed the House without much difficulty on Monday. The bill HTML551 now moves to the Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee where it may get a hearing tomorrow.
The sports betting bill now includes funding for problem gambling
A new addition to the bill includes an allotment for problem gaming treatment. Rep. Michael Meredith is the sponsor of HB551. He previously stated that he would address this issue in a future session. Although he acknowledged that the change improved the chances of the bill passing the Senate, he still wants to ensure the sole responsibility is on horse racing, Kentucky Lottery and sports betting in order to address responsible gambling.
Meredith said to SBC Americas that they are “pretty close over there” about the bill’s Senate prospects. “Yeah. “Yeah. One or two votes asked for the problem gaming money. Hopefully, this will help to shore them up.
“I believe Rep. [Matthew] Koch will return to that issue next year, in discussion with the tracks and the lottery and other sources of gambling in the state. Some senators wanted to get it started right here so we did that.”
To fund gambling assistance programs, the measure would use 2.5% of tax revenue generated from sports betting. According to the fiscal note, the state would receive $22.9 million annually in revenue.
Meredith’s bill would allow up to nine online betting licenses for each state racetrack. These licenses would be available for $500,000 fees. Online betting would be subject to a 9.75% tax, while retail sports betting would be subject to a 14.25% tax. Operators would not be allowed to deduct promotional credit from the bill.
Meredith is open to working alongside Beshear in order to pass sports betting
Rep. Adam Koenig’ssports gambling bill made it to the Senate last year. However, the bill was not called for a floor vote by the Senate due to opposition from a majority GOP senators. Gov. Andy Beshear is a Democrat who has expressed his support for sports betting. Meredith said he was open to the idea of obtaining support from Beshear in order to rally votes for the seven Democratic senators.
“I am always glad to receive help from the governor if it is possible to agree on something. We’ve communicated a bit over the past week about the vote that was held today and about planning for the vote at the Senate.
It is harder than many realize to vote in the Senate. Any bill that increases revenue for the state must pass the Senate with a three-fifths majority in odd-numbered years. This is 23 votes. The Senate currently has 31 Republicans and seven Democrats. The House passed the bill by three votes more than the required 60-vote threshold.
Both 21+ and credit card modifications failed
The anti-gambling Rep. Josh Caloway attempted to attach amendments to this evening’s legislation. One amendment proposed to increase the age of sports betting to 21. Meredith claimed that sports betting should be treated differently to other forms of gambling, which is why the age for all other gambling has been raised to 18 years. Vote against the amendment was not allowed.
Another amendment by Calloway sought to ban credit cards deposits. Meredith opposed the amendment, citing cybersecurity concerns with ACH deposits.
“I am a banker by trade,” he said. He said that he is hesitant about having an ACH linked directly to my bank account to access something that can be accessed online.
This amendment was then put to a roll-call vote and it was also defeated.