Kentucky lawmaker begins push for legal betting, fantasy and poker

A bill to legalise sports betting, fantasy sports and online poker in Kentucky has been introduced to the state’s Senate.

Senate Bill 213, authored by Senator David Yates, has been referred to the Committee on Committees, and it outlines the operation of online and in-person sports wagering, fantasy contests and online poker.

Sports betting licencees will be subject to a 9.75% tax rate on adjusted gross revenue from retail bets, while online bets will be taxed at 14.25%.

Wagering will only be permitted in the state at licensed racetracks, professional sports venues or on a mobile app, for which in-person registration will be mandatory.

This registration requirement will then lift from 2024, when players aged 18 and above will be able to download an app anywhere.

Tracks and venues are only allowed to partner with one provider at a time, using a format available in both a retail and online capacity.

For fantasy sports operators, the registration fee has been set at $5,000, with an annual renewal fee equal to either 6% of adjusted gross revenues for the previous year, or $5,000.

All fantasy sports operators that plan to continue offering their services in the state must register by 15 January 2023. They will then be required to submit their records for a yearly audit for which they will have to cover the costs.

For online poker, the initial licence fee stands at $250,000 with an annual renewal fee of $10,000. Operators will also have to pay a 6.75% monthly tax fee on net poker revenue.

Online poker operators will have to ensure that their platform contains geolocation software to prove that the game is being conducted within the state of Kentucky.

The software should also employ age verification protocols to prevent minors under the age of 18 from gambling.

Money collected by the state from gambling will be deposited into the wagering administration fund. Of this sum, 5% will be put into the Problem Gambling Assistance account, with the remainder being deposited into the Kentucky Permanent Pension Fund.

Kentucky Republican Representative Adam Koenig previously filed legislation attempting to legalise online sports betting in the state in January 2021, although the bill failed to progress through the legislature.

Author: Raymond Fleming