Sports gaming has been a hot topic since a Supreme Court decision last year allowed states to legalize gambling on sports such as football and basketball.
Now, Kentucky lawmakers are being asked to support legislation allowing regulated sports betting in the commonwealth.
Democratic State Senator Julian Carroll of Franklin County has pre-filed a bill to create a Kentucky Gaming Commission to oversee the new industry. Carroll says creating rules would allow the state to start collecting revenue which could go towards education and retirement funds.
“Sports betting is legal in Kentucky now. The only thing is it’s unregulated. There’s no collection of taxes for the state and there’s no regulation of it to protect the public interest,” Carroll said.
Some critics say predictions for how much gaming revenue could boost a state’s budget are typically exaggerated. Carroll also acknowledged there are limits to how much betting could make a difference in the troubled budget.
“The state is not going to make a lot of money out of it. But, the more important thing is it would be regulated. But, we could make up to $50 million a year out of it,” Carroll said.
Carroll said the proposed law has received support from Republicans in the House of Representatives.
Under the proposed legislation, the governor would appoint members of the proposed gaming commission with Senate consent.
Meanwhile, gaming advocates are looking at the effect betting could have on established Kentucky industries like horse racing.
Brad Cummings, founder of the lottery service provider Equilottery Games, said the state’s horseracing tracks could benefit from hosting sports books at their facilities.
“This thing that maybe a lot of people don’t understand is somebody comes into a sports book and they’re going to place a wager on a football game, which is a three hour event, and they’ll sit at the sports book and watch the event,” Cummings said.
Cumming added that’s when the racetracks can see the boon from hosting sports books because, if patrons want to continue to bet, horseracing is likely their only option.