Kentucky Has Better Prospects For Legalised Online Poker In 2020
After a failed attempt earlier this year to legalise both online poker and sports betting, there is fresh optimism that Kentucky would finally open its doors to regulated online gaming in 2020.
In February 2019, Rep. Adam Koenig put forward Bill H175, which would have allowed the Horse Racing Commission to supervise sports betting and daily fantasy sports, and the Kentucky Lottery Commission to regulate online poker in the Bluegrass State. However, the bill failed to gain the 60-vote supermajority required for it to be passed.
Koenig isn’t giving up just yet though, as he has now promised to intensify efforts and come up with a better plan next year. Over the years, multiple attempts by several other states such as California and New York to legalise online gambling have met with little success, but Koenig is hopeful that Kentucky will avoid a similar fate, given the following factors:
Budget Year In 2020
The next year is a budget year in Kentucky, meaning any bill proposed will only need to garner a simple majority of 51 votes. Lawmakers will also lay out the state’s budget next year and thus they are expected to set their focus on tax revenues.
This makes Koenig’s bill a lot more attractive, with a regulated online gambling market projected to generate up to $50 million in revenue for the state each year. Therefore, online poker, alongside sports betting, could very well debut in 2020.
Kentucky’s new governor Andy Beshar has already made his pro-legalised gambling stance known even before being elected to his new post. When he was still Kentucky’s Attorney General, Beshar lobbied lawmakers to pave the way for regulated gambling, saying the state can hugely benefit from potential gambling tax revenue.
Now that he is at the helm of the Kentucky government, Beshar will give the final decision on the passage of the bill, making the task a lot easier for Koenig.
Kentucky Can Learn From Neighbouring States
A lot of states in the Midwest have already embraced online poker and sports betting, establishing a revenue-generating market. In Indiana for example, around $35 million in bets was recorded when sports betting went live in September. That figure significantly increased to $92 million the following month. This could translate to annual tax revenues of up to $20.3 million.
In the newly-opened online poker market in Pennsylvania, numbers are strong as well, and this can serve more motivation for Kentucky to also legalise online poker. Kentucky lawmakers will hold their first legislative session for the New Year on January 7.