Kentucky online poker not in cards for 2019

Kentucky online poker bill

Any chances of legalizing Kentucky online poker – or other forms of online gambling in the state – appear to be dead for 2019.

Bill HB175 was filed in the Kentucky House of Representatives earlier this year by Rep. Adam Koenig. The bill, if passed would have legalized online poker, sports betting and daily fantasy sports in the state. According to Koenig that won’t be happening in 2019, as he’s pulled the bill with hopes to reintroduce it in 2020.

Koenig has stated that while the bill has generated much interest and discussion it is unlikely it would receive the support it would need to pass a super majority vote in the house. However, that would not be the case in 2020.

When could Kentucky online poker become reality?

Kentucky has an interesting voting system in their House. In odd numbered years bills need to receive a super majority of at least 60 per cent to pass. In even-numbered years, like 2020 for example, only a simple majority would be needed.

In the Kentucky House, a simple majority would be 50 per cent plus one, or 51 votes. With 20 co-sponsors of the bill, Koenig would only need to find 31 votes on support in 2020 to get the bill passed.

The fact that 2020 is a budget year in Kentucky may also play favorably. The state has a number of financial challenges facing it in the upcoming year, including a $40 billion pension debt.

New revenues streams that could be generated through online poker and other forms of gambling could look very tempting to a state in need of them.

Kentucky also needs to worry about falling behind their neighbors. West Virginia is close to getting into the online gambling game, while Illinois, Indiana and Ohio have also had discussion about gambling expansion.

Even Virginia has come around recently, with a new bill passed into law this month that could see the state build their first brick and mortar casino and legalize online gambling.

If HB 175 were to eventually pass it would place sports betting and daily fantasy sports under the authority of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Online poker would be under the Kentucky Lottery.

Online poker operators in Kentucky would have to pay a $250,000 license fee and all revenue would be taxed at 6.75 per cent. There’s plenty of time between now and the end of 2020 for those regulations to be amended and new ones to be added.

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