Kentucky lawmakers on Thursday got a primer on sports betting when staff members presented a detailed look at sports betting to the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue.
The presentation likely created more questions than answers, but it was a significant step for the Kentucky lawmakers who are pushing for legal sports betting. Kentucky’s state legislature is not currently in session, but interim joint committees keep the legislative process moving through the summer months. By opening the sports betting discussion on a formal level, the interim committee can help the standing committees it supports in both chambers to hit the ground running when the new legislative session begins in January. Senate Appropriations and Revenue chairman Christian McDaniel (R-District 23) requested the presentation to give committee members and overview of the sports betting issue.
The presentation lasted about a half hour and included:
- An explanation of what the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was;
- A primer on the and the Supreme Court case Murphy vs. NCAA;
- The possibility of a federal framework;
- A brief look at how Nevada manages sports betting, it’s tax structure and revenue;
- A look at the “integrity fee” or royalty that the professional sports leagues have been lobbying for;
- Whether or not the Kentucky constitution allows for sports betting and possible ways to make sports betting legal (i.e. is a constitutional amendment required?); and
- Who would oversee sports betting in the Bluegrass State.
KY Sports Betting Working Group Has Been Laying the Groundwork for Legal KY Sports Betting.
A nine-member “working group” of Kentucky legislators has been meeting through the summer to build a consensus on sports betting. The group has met twice and has reached two key decisions: Kentucky should tax net revenue, not handle, and the group does not endorse the integrity fee that the professional leagues have been lobbying for.
It’s unlikely that the bill that the working group files will include the fee. No state that has legalized sports betting since PASPA was struck down includes a royalty, and the only state that seems to be seriously discussing such a fee is New York.
According to former governor turned state senator Julian Carroll (D-District 7), who is a member of the working group and has already pre-filed a sports betting bill, any working-group legislation would call for the creation of an independent agency to regulate sports betting, rather than either the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission or the Kentucky Lottery.
Two members of the working group, Senator Morgan McCarvey (D-19th District) and Representative Jason Nemes (R-District 33), are also on the interim committee. There are a total of 41 lawmakers, senators and representatives from both parties, on the committee.
Thursday’s presentation was merely a conversation starter. It did spark some humor when the committee chair, who is clearly a Cincinnati Reds fan, quipped that his delegation would oppose sports betting until its constituents could place an online bet on the chances of Major League Baseball allowing Pete Rose into Cooperstown.