KY sports betting bill passes House committee with changes

Sports gambling bill pass KY House committee, heads to floor

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Legalized sports gambling in Kentucky moved one step closer to becoming a reality Wednesday.

A House committee easily passed House Bill 175 to the floor. It would legalize sports betting, online poker and fantasy sports.

When brought up for discussion earlier this year, a group came to speak out against the bill, but none did Wednesday.

“We’ve taken out the Oscars and the Emmys, and want to make sure that you can’t bet on the coin flip before the Super Bowl,” Rep Adam Koenig, (R-Erlanger), said.

Now, only the actual playing of sports, instead of prop -- or side -- bets would be permitted, according to Koenig.

It’s a tweak that lawmakers said might increase their odds when it comes to passing House Bill 175.

In committee Wednesday morning, zero votes were cast against it, which didn’t surprise sponsor and committee chair Koenig.

“We stacked this committee with people who believe in this stuff,” Koenig said with a laugh.

As for whether the full House will be just as supportive, Koenig said he’s not sure he’ll reach the required 60 votes. But he said if lawmakers vote their conscience, referencing freedom and pension funding, the bill will move forward, despite what he calls a “cryptic” discussion on the need for change that happened in the committee.

“We’ve made a lot of changes over the time, we’ve listened to a lot of people, probably need some more changes as we move forward,” Rep. Al Gentry, (D-Louisville), said in committee.

Regardless of any disagreement, many spoke in support of the funding revenue from the bill -- estimated previously to be between $48 and $20 million -- that would go to addiction services and the pension crisis.

It’s money many admit won’t fix the problem, but is a start.

“Given that we have a $43 billion unfunded liability, we desperately need,” Rep. Jerry Miller, (R-Louisville), said.

At the time of the committee meeting, the bill had yet to receive any of its required three readings in the House, something Koenig said is out of his control.

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