With few days left in the legislative session, a bill to ban gaming machines popping up across the Commonwealth cleared another legislative hurdle.
House Bill 594, sponsored by Rep. Killian Timoney, would ban gray machines and make them illegal in Kentucky, while also implementing a $25,000 fine for those operating the machines that would be paid to the county they were operated in.
There are currently three forms of legal gaming in Kentucky, and these machines fall outside of the three regulated categories of the Kentucky lottery, charitable gaming, and parimutuel wagering on horse racing. No taxes are being collected on the machines addressed in the bill, and there is currently no regulation in place.
During discussion on the bill in the Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee meeting Tuesday morning, Timoney said the bill is a work of compromise and addresses the concerns of many groups.
Many groups testified alongside Timoney in favor of the bill, including Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts, who noted the Chamber is the state’s largest business association with more than 70% of membership comprised of small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The Chamber, she said, has made clear its position to ban gray machines, especially after vetting through multiple levels of approval.
“Our members elected to support banning these machines because of the way in which they were instituted, illegally, without government authorization or oversight,” Watts said.
House Bill 594 passed through committee and now moves to the Senate floor for a vote.
Stay tuned to The Bottom Line for more updates on this and other bills in the final days of the 2023 session.