Home A project of States Newsroom
Kentucky House approves sports gambling bill


Kentucky House approves sports gambling bill

Mar 13, 2023 | 7:28 pm ET
By Lantern staff
Kentucky House approves sports gambling bill
Aerial view of exerior of the Kentucky State Capitol illuminated at night. (Getty Images)

FRANKFORT — Betting on sports would become legal in Kentucky, under a measure approved Monday by the state House.

Although the prospects for House Bill 551 are uncertain in the Senate, it comfortably won bipartisan passage in the House by a 63-34 vote. The bill needed 60 votes, given that Kentucky statutes require bills raising revenue in an odd-numbered year to have the approval of three-fifths of the body. 

This is the second year in a row the House has voted to legalize gambling on sports. A bill last year to legalize sports wagering didn’t receive a vote on the Senate floor.

The bill’s sponsor, ​​Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Oakland, has said that while tax revenue generated by the legislation is anticipated to bring only $23 million to the state, that’s potential money “not being given to any government right now or being given to one of our border states.” 

Meredith added an amendment to the bill on the House floor that will dedicate about 2.5% of the generated annual tax revenue to go toward addressing gambling addiction. 

Its chances of passage through the Senate remain unclear as this year’s legislative session nears its end. Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said last week that because three-fifths of each legislative chamber is needed to pass the bill, he didn’t know if the votes were there to pass it.