Legislation to legalize betting on sporting events in Kentucky, one of the most talked about issues of the 2023 session, has now seen final passage on the last day of session.
House Bill 551, sponsored by Republican Rep. Michael Meredith and Democrat Al Gentry, would make the act of sports wagering legal with a regulatory framework placed under the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, which has regulated wagering in this state for more than 50 years.
Thirty-six states nationwide and the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation.
Estimates say the bill would bring in about $23 million in annual revenue for the state, the majority of which would go toward Kentucky’s underfunded public pension system.
The legislation passed the Senate Thursday evening with a 25-12 vote.
Because the Senate did not make any changes to the bill, it now goes straight to the governor and does not have to be voted on again by the House.
The governor has indicated he would sign a sports wagering bill into law.