There is a lot of optimism as far as sports betting is concerned and a number of states are preparing for the landmark ruling that will hopefully repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Kentucky is the eighth state where sports betting could become a reality if PASPA is repealed and bill SB 22 that was submitted on Wednesday by Senator Julian Carroll gains enough political support. The bill seeks to amend a Kentucky statute that exempts some sports from the current sports betting ban in the state. This bill further seeks to award the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission oversight authority to implement new sports betting regulations. It will also channel all tax revenues generated from the activity to the state coffers.
This is Caroll’s second attempt at pushing a bill that will potentially put Kentucky on the map in regards to sports betting. His first attempt was in September last year when he filed bill BR 155 that sought for the conceptualization and implementation of a sensible framework for legalized sports betting at the Kentucky racetracks and the off-track betting facilities. Unfortunately, the bill flopped before the end of 2017 but the senator maintained that sports betting is a viable solution to Kentucky’s budget problem.
“When the (state financial advisors) PFM Group made their recommendations to cut pensions it was my mission to find a new source of revenue for the ailing systems,” Carroll said in an interview with the Legislative Research Commission in September. “The state has a moral and legal obligation to fund state pensions. Reducing the benefits of thousands of hard-working public servants is not an option.”
Caroll has been rather open about his motivation for the legislative push – he has reaffirmed that the tax revenue from sports betting would be used to support pension schemes as well as facilitating the provision of other civil services. Under the new bill’s terms, gaming operators would need to pay an initial licensing fee of $250,000 and an additional 20 percent tax on gross gaming revenues – from all the funds that will be collected in this way, 60 percent will be allocated to the Kentucky Employees Retirement Systems Non-Hazardous and Kentucky Teachers’ retirement funds.