Kentucky lawmakers explore the possibility of legalizing sports betting

On Friday, Kentucky lawmakers heard testimony from several of the states key gambling stakeholders on the topic of sports betting.

A hearing was held by members of the Interim Committee on Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations (ICLOAR).

A number of experts in the gambling industry gave testimony to the committee including, Brendan Bussman, Director of Government Affairs at Global Market Advisors, Tom Delcenserie, President and CEO of the Kentucky Lottery Corporation, Brad Cummings, Founder and CEO of Equilottery Games and Mark Brenner, President of the Poker Alliance.

Bussman discussed the key aspects that lawmakers should consider when crafting sports betting legislation, touching on; integrity monitoring, competitive tax rates, mobile sports betting, as well as, strong and strict regulation.

In terms of revenue, Brussman said that Global Market Advisors estimate the state of Kentucky could see between $10.4m and $104m in revenue if the state legalizes sports betting.

Brussman also discussed mobile sports betting and how it can be more convenient for bettors and at the same time help boost revenue at physical casinos.

Kentucky Representative, Adam Koening, the organizer of the hearing, said that mobile sports betting elements would be a key aspect of any sports betting legislation.

Regarding regulation, Brussman suggested that the state could create a new gaming commission which would be responsible for overseeing the entire gambling industry in Kentucky, rather than allowing the state lottery to monitor activities.

On the topic of monitoring sports integrity, Brussman said that the inclusion of an integrity fee would hurt the state and its ability to be competitive with its sports betting offerings.

Although it looks unlikely that any legislation will include an integrity fee, one state representative considers the interest from sports leagues as a positive.

Senator Morgan McGarvey said: “I think it shows Kentucky is serious about passing sports betting.”

Three of the leagues, the NBA, MLB, and PGA Tour have hired lobbyists to convince the state that an integrity fee is needed.

McGarvey added: “They wouldn’t be spending the money on all of these lobbyists if we didn’t have a chance at passing a bill.”

Other lawmakers in Kentucky are already on board with legalizing sports betting in the state.

Senator Julian Carroll has shown support for sports betting activities at racetracks, lottery establishments across the state.

Representative Al-Gentry has also expressed support for bringing the activity to Kentucky and has said: “it’s a no-brainer.”

The state has already pre-filed a sports betting bill for the next legislative session on 8 January 2019.

Looking at the bigger picture, sports betting legislation hearings are set to take place in Indiana, Illinois and Washington D.C. in the coming days.


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