FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - The argument hasn't changed. Sports betting supporters maintain that Kentuckians are already betting, but their money is going across state lines where it's legal.
Thursday afternoon at the Capitol, Gov. Andy Beshear told lawmakers and Kentuckians that the state could be raking in$22.5 million a year in tax revenue once sports betting is fully operational. Beshear was joined in the rally by business and education leaders, firefighters, the FOP, Republicans and Democrats.
“Some people will say, ‘That’s not going to solve the pension system,’” Beshear said. “Sure, on its own, nothing is going to solve the pension system. But those are meaningful dollars where we can meet so many needs.”
As 20 states now have sports betting, Beshear said Kentucky already lost out big on Super Bowl weekend, saying Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman knows after checking out a Southern Indiana sports book a few months ago.
“And after Lamar Jackson won the MVP on Saturday, she won $95 on her $5 bet,” Beshear said of Coleman.
Beshear and the Republican sponsor of HB137, Adam Koenig, are banging the drums now as just a few votes are needed in the House. And as Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer announced, support is in the senate as long as all Democrats are on board.
That put Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey on the spot to get the remaining votes. The Democratic Senator representing Kentucky’s 19th District was asked about it during Thursday’s rally and press conference.
“I’d bet on it,” McGarvey joked.
Meanwhile, The Family Foundation remained strong in its opposition to HB137.
“What you heard ... was everyone talking about all the money that Kentucky was losing, but all that money is coming from Kentucky families,” Family Foundation Executive Director Kent Ostrander said.
Ostrander contends a constitutional amendment is still necessary when it comes to sports betting, but the Beshear, the former attorney general, said he’s looked into it, it is not necessary, and it will withstand any legal challenge.