Lawmakers and horse industry leader say time to pass sports wagering
On Wednesday, lawmakers discussed legislation to legalize wagering on sporting events which was proposed during the 2019 session but did not see final passage.
Keeneland Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Vince Gabbert told the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations the horse racing industry supports the legislation as it will bring additional revenue to the state, drive more traffic to the racing tracks, and have other positive economic impacts.
In discussing the success other states have seen when passing similar legislation, some lawmakers noted people who want to bet on sports are already doing it and passage of the bill will make it legal and bring the money into Kentucky. Gabbert stated while Kentucky won’t be the first to market with this policy, it can still be passed before some surrounding states and noted recent numbers show the bill could bring in as much as $20 million per year to Kentucky.
Many members of the committee who spoke on the bill stated they agree it is time to pass the bill. Gabbert said if the legislature passes the bill during the 2020 session, the race tracks will be ready to be able to implement the new form of wagering immediately because they already have the infrastructure, security, money handling abilities, and other needed features.
Gabbert said he is confident in the legislation that was proposed in 2019 and the partners in place and urged the legislature to pass sports wagering in 2020.