On Wednesday Kentucky became the latest of more than a dozen states to contemplate (or pass) legislation that would permit sports betting within its borders — at any horse track or off-track facility in the commonwealth. State senator Julian M. Carroll (D-Frankfort) introduced the bill (BR 155), “an act relating to sports wagering.” The bill would:
Create a new section of KRS Chapter 230 to require the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to institute a sports wagering system; amend KRS 230.210 to define “exempt sports contest,” “sports wagering,” and “sports wagering facility”; amend KRS 230.215 to declare it the policy of the Commonwealth to encourage the conduct of wagering on sporting events, when allowed by federal law, and to vest forceful control over sports wagering in the racing commission…
Lawmaker Wants Kentucky to Get Ahead of the Curve on Sports Betting, Set up Commission to Institute Sports Wagering System
Key phrase in the bill there: when allowed by federal law, because for the time being, the 1992 federal law PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) prohibits states from creating, licensing or regulating sports betting operations in the states.
New Jersey has taken the lead in the effort to have this be repealed or ruled unconstitutional. Its ongoing legal battle with the NCAA, NFL and major pro sports leagues, who continue to support PASPA and have gone to the courts to block sports betting, remais the the holdup. U.S. Congressman Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2), whose district includes Atlantic City, told SportsHandle this week that it’s “mind-boggling” how the NFL is “trying to suggest that there’s no illegal betting going on and that sports betting would be bad.”
Like the other states that have produced legislation regarding sports betting, Mr. Carroll wants to position Kentucky to prepare for the event that the high court rules PASPA unconstitutional, so the state can quickly take advantage of the opportunity.
‘It is important that the General Assembly acts now to create regulations in anticipation of a ruling by the Supreme Court’ Carroll told KyForward. ‘If the Supreme Court strikes down PASPA, sports wagering will be legal in Kentucky despite this bill. This bill regulates an industry that I believe is coming to Kentucky. We should take advantage of this opportunity while safeguarding our citizens.’
Recently 19 states, led by West Virginia, submitted a brief (“amici curiae states,” or “friends of the court”) in the Supreme Court in support of New Jersey. The states echoed the arguments of New Jersey and co-petitioner, the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. And that is basically that PASPA represents federal overreach by “commandeering” the states to keep or prevent laws barring sports betting. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in New Jersey’s case later this year or in the beginning of 2018, with a decision to come by June 2018.
According to KyFoward, revenue produced through sports betting would benefit the Kentucky Employees Retirement Systems Non-Hazardous, and Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement Systems, as well as the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship with a portion going to horse racing development funds.
Check out our coverage of the the Supreme Court case and PASPA: