Kentucky Sports Betting Legislation Nearing Approval Before End of Session

On Wednesday, the Kentucky General Assembly’s session concluded with the Senate not bringing up the sports betting bill. This means that supporters have one day left – Thursday – to make the Bluegrass State the 37th to legalize the gaming product. Reports indicate that the supporters of the bill may be just one vote away from the 23-vote threshold needed to pass House Bill 551 before the session ends.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) expressed hope that a good night’s sleep and a fresh set of eyes would help garner the necessary votes. Democrats in the chamber have reportedly united in support of the bill. If passed, House Bill 551 would allow the state’s nine racetracks to operate retail sportsbooks at their facilities and partner with up to three online operators.

Before the session ended, American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller sent a letter to each senator urging them to legalize sports betting. The Sports Betting Alliance (SBA) has also been lobbying lawmakers, spending over $13,000 in the first two months of the legislative session.

Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, has said he would sign a sports betting bill into law. If the measure is not passed by Thursday, efforts to legalize sports betting will have to wait until lawmakers return for the 2024 session in January. This would also mark the second straight year where the Kentucky Senate did not vote on the bill before the session ended.