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Sports Group Lobbying Kentucky Lawmakers for 'Integrity Fee' Related to Sports Gambling


The nation’s largest professional sports organizations are registering in Kentucky for the first time following a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. 

The high court in May ruled that a federal gambling statute violated the U.S. Constitution and cleared the way for individual states to decide on sports betting. 

The National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, and the PGA Tour have all registered to lobby during the 2019 General Assembly. 

The sports leagues will push for a one percent integrity fee that would be taken out of all bets before the government gets to tax the bets. 

John Schaaf heads the Legislative Ethics Commission, which oversees lobbying in Kentucky.  He said two states have already approved sports wagering.

"I don't think these professional leagues have been successful thus far in getting that so-called integrity feel, but I'm sure they're going to try in all 50 states."

The sports organizations say the fee would police point-shaving and other gambling-related corruption.  Opponents have called it a grab on gaming revenue. 

A bill allowing sports betting was proposed in this year’s legislature, but it stalled in committee.  Several lawmakers have said the legislation will be re-introduced next session.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.