Kentucky lawmakers want a piece of the U.S. sports betting pie after the country’s highest tribunal repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, according to the Kentucky Public Radio.
A bi-partisan panel, consisting of six members of the state House of Representatives and three members of the Senate, has been formed to draft and file legislation to implement legal sports betting in Kentucky.
Some of the members of the bi-partisan panel were among the lawmakers who pushed for regulation of sports betting in Kentucky in 2017. Sen. Julian Carroll was the first to propose legalizing the activity last September, but his bill didn’t make any progress in the Senate. Rep. John Sims and Rep. Dean Schamore peddled the legalization of sports betting in the lower chamber but their bill got stalled in committee.
Based on their timeline, the nine-member legislative team has six months to study, research, and write a bill that will pave the way for betting on professional sports “and possibly some limited instances of college sports, while banning wagering on high school or below level sports.” They plan to file companion bills for each chamber during the 2019 legislative session, according to the lawmakers.
Rep. Jason Nemes, one of the lawmakers tasked to write the sports betting bill, believes that legalizing betting will provide additional revenue for the cash-strapped state. He estimated that Kentucky may earn $6.5 million and $26 million annually through licensing and taxes.
“It’s a way that we can bring more money into the state’s coffers to pay for much-needed programs but it also increases the freedom of our citizens to direct their entertainment dollars where they think they ought to,” Nemes said, according to the news outlet.
The Bluegrass State has been relying on pari-mutuel gambling at horse racing tracks and slot machine-style games for gaming revenues over the past years. As the state’s budget deficit widens, lawmakers were left without a choice but to study proposals to accommodate sports betting and even allow casinos.