David Osborne

House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, said the sports wagering bill is still in play with time running out in the General Assembly. (Kentucky Today/Tom Latek)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - A bill that would expand sports wagering in Kentucky in an attempt to help pay down the public pension unfunded liability has stalled in the House.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, won easy approval in the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee and on Feb. 25 was placed on the Orders of the Day, which is the list of bills that can be voted on by the full House.

However, it has languished there ever since. On Tuesday, House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, was asked why.

“I notice Rep. Koenig filed a couple amendments just this afternoon, which I think are intended to address a couple of concerns that had been expressed,” he said. “But it’s still very much part of the conversation.”

That means the bill is not dead yet. Osborne described some of the concerns.

“They were about the types of bets that were going to be allowed, who would have input into those, how random they would be, and things like that,” he said.

Koenig has said the bill, which has 20 bipartisan co-sponsors, could generate $20-50 million per year in revenue for the state.

Among changes he made earlier to the bill to enable it to clear a committee last month, after hearings on two separate days, included:

--Sports bets could be taken on in-state events, but not college sports.

--Bets can be on actions within the game, such as the results of a punt or field goal attempt.

--The initial licensing fee for a sports betting operator is being lowered from $1 million to $500,000.

--Wagers made at thoroughbred tracks would have a half percent tax that goes to the Thoroughbred Development Fund, while bets at standardbred tracks would do the same to the Standardbred Development Fund.

The measure includes betting on sports contests, internet poker and fantasy sports contests.

Proceeds would go first to cover administrative costs, five percent to a problem gambling assistance fund, with the rest to help fund Kentucky’s public pension system, which has an unfunded liability of at least $43 billion.

Tuesday was Day 24 of the 30-day legislative session, Osborne noted. “So, anything that’s going to move, has to move quickly.”

Recommended for you