Kentucky Gambling Bill – Not Going to Happen in 2019


Kentucky’s hopes to combat a humongous pension fund deficit have been dashed at least so far as online poker in the state goes.

The most promising draft bill to potentially legalize online gambling has been shelved until 2020.

H 175’s Will Have to Wait Until 2020

Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, is not a man who easily admits defeat. He has been spearheading bill after bill through Kentucky’s parched legal landscape where little support for any form of online gambling can be found.

Mr. Koenig managed to briefly and convincingly make the bill he authored and supported, H 175, the center of all attention in 2019. This may now have to wait as one of the original reasons for pushing the legislation through – combatting a $43 billion pension fund deficit – has been dismissed as unrealistic.

This is no big issue, as Mr. Koening clearly lives by the maxim “live to pass the bill another day”. To succeed in 2019, he would need a supermajority, which is hard to come by.

That’s why the bill will have to wait until next year when a simple majority will do.

Regrouping to Pass Kentucky Online Poker in 2020

With $43 billion in pension deficit, the $20 million that sports wagering and online gambling & poker would bring to the state seem like a small figure and one that doesn’t really merit the attention of lawmakers.

However, Mr Koenig believes that dismissing the issue altogether is the wrong way to go. True, it would take 20 years to catch up to the deficit from online gambling in the state alone, but it’s a step in the right direction and no drain on the public purse. Faced with a tough opposition, Mr Koenig already has a plan, as he told the Insider Louisville:

Koenig said:

We will regroup and reload with a better plan to win the hearts and minds of the public next year

We will only need a simple majority, and it will be a budget year where that $20-48 million will look a lot more important.

By repositioning themselves, Mr. Koening and his supporters will have an easier go at regulation, having to do with a simple majority instead.

A simple majority is rather easy to come by, too, especially when H 175 has the necessary backing. To pass in 2020, it will need 60% of the approval vote of members of both the House of Representatives and Kentucky State Senate.

Support continues to stay strong, especially when Kentucky seem well poised to expand in all relevant segments of the online gambling experience unperturbed by local opposition.

The Neighbors Push for Legislation as Well

While Kentucky is taking a backseat, many other states have been pressing on with their own legislation. Quite a few contenders have shaped up in the region and in the general vicinity of Kentucky, including West Virginia.

There has also been a solid push from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Virginia. These states are sticking closely to each other, which means that whichever gets a head start might be clawing some of the potential player base of others.

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