Lawmakers squashed Kentucky legal sportsbook dreams when it passed a budget without proposals to increase revenue through sports betting. HB 352, the one-year budget package, left out plans to expand gambling licenses.
The Kentucky General Assembly didn’t include tax sales of recreational marijuana as well. Senate President Robert Stivers described conservative estimates to be pessimistic. Also, their projections didn’t account for the state’s revenue loss due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Stivers told pay per head sportsbook sites that the legislature was taking a shot in the dark. Their current year revenue projection is $11.6 billion. However, the state will be lucky to get $11.4 billion. That means the budget is already off by $200 million.
Kentucky Legal Sportsbook Dreams
The budget HB 352 came with a revenue bill HB 351, which included $50 million in new revenue by taxing vaping products. However, some critics told pay per head sources that the state was wrong in excluding proposals to increase revenue through sports betting, taxing recreational marijuana sales, and expanding gambling licenses.
Stivers justified their decision by stating that sports betting would not have an impact because of the lack of canceled sports events due to the coronavirus. Also, the sports betting bill only allow sports wagering in racing tracks, which were shut down due to the health crisis.
Governor Andy Beshear told a political forum that he was in favor of the lawmakers’ plan to pass a one-year budget. That way, they can go home and exercise social distancing. Lawmakers expect the governor to sign both House Bills 351 and 352. The governor is a known supporter of legalizing casinos and sports betting in the state.
Also, the governor might issue line-item vetoes to HB 352. However, the super-majority in the Senate and House will override the vetoes. Aside from ignoring sports betting, the one-year budget also left out increased education funding.