Kentucky Sports Betting: Lawmakers Close To Passing HB 551?

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Online sports wagering could be close to passing the Kentucky Senate by Thursday. 

As the sponsor of House Bill 551, Rep. Michael Meredith (R-Oakland) reportedly said he was confident enough votes have been secured. 

The lawmakers are scheduled to meet Wednesday, opening the final two days of the session.

Kentucky Senate Expected to Move HB 551 Forward

HB 551 made its way through the State House of Representatives by a vote of 63-34. It was the second straight year similar legislation was passed by the House. 

The Senate requires a two-thirds majority vote to move the bill to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. Reportedly an advocate of online sports wagering for his state, Beshear is expected to sign the legislation into law if it makes it to his desk. 

“I feel pretty good as we move into the last couple of days,” Meredith told “I’ve continued to have conversations with members of the Senate throughout the veto recess.

“I think the votes are there. It’s obviously going to be close (to) the 23-vote threshold this year. And anything can happen at the last minute, but I feel like we have the votes.” 

Meredith earlier stated he dedicated time during the 10-day veto recess to speak with lawmakers who may have been on the fence regarding its passage.

Michael Meredith: ‘The Bill … Is A Strong Product’

In 2022, the Kentucky Senate did stage a vote on similar legislation that was passed by the House. There are two major differences between the past two bills. The current verbiage does not include daily fantasy sports and online poker.

HB 551 permits in-person wagering at the state’s nine-horse racing tracks. The bill also creates a tax revenue of 9.75 percent for in-person sports betting revenue and 14.25 percent for online revenue.

“The bill before the Senate is a strong product,” Meredith said. “We’ve worked on the language for close to three months, listened to folks in the industry, problem gaming advocates and my colleagues on the other end of the capital. “Now we just have to make sure the members of the Senate know the details and reasons why bringing this marketplace out of the shadows and into the light through prudent regulation (is) good for the citizens of Kentucky, especially those that are consumers in the marketplace.”

Jeff Hawkins is an award-winning sportswriter with more than four decades in the industry (print and digital media). A freelance writer/stay-at-home dad since 2008, Hawkins started his career with newspaper stints in Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, Upstate New York and Illinois, where he earned the 2004 APSE first-place award for column writing (under 40,000 circulation). As a beat writer, he covered NASCAR Winston Cup events at NHIS (1999-2003), the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks (2003-06) and the NFL's Carolina Panthers (2011-12). Hawkins penned four youth sports books, including a Michael Jordan biography. Hawkins' main hobbies include mountain bike riding, 5k trail runs at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C., and live music.

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