“Over,” “under,” “parlay,” and “moneyline” are just a few of the terms to be familiar with to take advantage of the newly passed Kentucky House Bill (HB) 551. Since passing both chambers of the state legislature on March 30, HB551 will officially legalize sports betting in the state of Kentucky.
Despite facing many obstacles on its path to passage, HB551 passed the State Senate with a final tally of 25-12- two more votes than the 60 percent mark necessary to pass the chamber in a non-budget year. Kentucky now becomes the 38th state to legalize some form of sports betting since the Supreme Court struck down its 1992 federal gambling ban in May of 2018. Championed by Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer (R) of Northern Kentucky, HB551 will legalize both online and in-person betting for collegiate and professional sports, while looking to aid the Kentucky state pension fund with additional tax revenue. According to Thayer, and other Senate leadership, HB551 will bring in an estimated $23 million dollars in annual tax revenue. This money will go directly into the State’s dying pension system used by teachers, public servants and first responders.
Since the bill’s passing early this Spring, reports have gone silent on the progress of groundwork necessary to open in-person and online sites for betting to take place later this year. With many estimates targeting late 2023 or early 2024 as the window for a statewide launch, the lack of news resulted in the speculation that the State government and third-party betting services were behind in their development of necessary infrastructure. However, recent announcements from the state prove just the opposite. It appears as though the silence was simply a result of everyone working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sports betting available sooner than most expected.