A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Sen. Julian Carroll prefiles legislation to allow sports wagering at racetracks, off-track betting facilities

Kentucky Senator Julian M. Carroll, D-Frankfort, has prefiled legislation establishing the framework to allow sports wagering at any horse racing track or off-track wagering facility.

Bill Request 236 builds on two previously filed bills that were proposed over the last couple of legislative sessions by Senator Carroll. He introduced the bills in anticipation of the United States Supreme Court striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, commonly known as PASPA. BR 236 would use the revenue generated from sports wagering to fund education and the Kentucky Retirement Systems.

Sen. Julian Carroll

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, many states passed sports wagering legislation which spurred a total handle near $10 billion. Those states collected tens-of-millions of dollars in revenue. New Jersey alone generated over $26 million in tax revenue their first year.

While the General Assembly in Kentucky has failed to protect their citizens and collect much-needed revenue from sports wagering, many of Kentucky’s bordering states have acted. This year alone Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee passed sports wagering legislation, and West Virginia is already in full operation. In Indiana, the sports wagering commission permitted locations to take bets beginning September 1, 2019.

Senator Carroll’s bills did not get a hearing during the 2018 or 2019 Legislative Sessions.

“Because of the General Assembly’s failure to act on this, despite numerous opportunities, Kentucky continues to lose revenue daily that could be funding our schools and ailing pension systems. And frankly, our residents are now vulnerable to an unregulated sports wagering market,” Senator Carroll said.

The bill requires a majority of the revenue generated from sports wagering to be deposited into the Kentucky Employees Retirement Systems Non-Hazardous and Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement Systems proportionally. The Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship will also benefit, with the remaining going towards horse racing development funds.

BR 236 will be considered during the regular legislative session beginning January 2020.

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