Online Poker & Sports Betting in Kentucky Got Benched on Thursday

Online poker and sports betting will not be coming to Kentucky this year and the next year seems out of range as well.

On Thursday, Bill HB 606, that would have legalized online poker and sports betting in Kentucky, failed to make it out of committee on the last day of the legislative session for 2022.

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Tourism, & Labor, but unfortunately never made it to a vote.

A second Bill, HB 609, did not make it past another committee, the Senate Committee on Appropriations and Revenue. If successful it would have called for the start of a problem gambling initiative funded by the $50 million that the state received after a $300 million settlement with online operator PokerStars.

Republican Senate Majority Floor Leader, Damon Thayor, expressed his disappointment:

“It wasn’t about not having enough votes in [the GOP] caucus. It was about not having enough votes, period — Republicans and Democrats. On the last whip count, the undecideds that were worked pretty heavily by the advocates for sports betting over the last week, all swung to ‘no.’

I’m disappointed. I am for sports betting. I want to make it clear that I did everything I could to get it passed, but I can’t force people to vote ‘yes’ on something that they are opposed to.”

Thayer remained optimistic nevertheless and added:

“I think the advocates should be optimistic. Sports betting got further in the Kentucky General Assembly than ever. It’s always going to be very difficult because of the religious concerns in rural areas especially. We just have to keep trying.”

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