The President and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), Bill Miller, has written a letter to the Kentucky Senate, urging them to pass legislation that would legalize and regulate sports wagering in the state. The letter emphasizes the need for legal and controlled options to divert Kentuckians from using illicit distribution methods for sports betting.
AGA’s research shows that $64 billion is wagered annually through illegal sportsbooks, which results in operators not paying state taxes, not having a legal obligation to pay winning bettors, and not promoting responsible gaming. On the other hand, authorized sports betting generates tax revenue for the state, protects consumers, and increases transparency.
The letter points out that six of the seven states bordering Kentucky have already legalized sports betting, leaving Kentucky residents with the options of either traveling to neighboring states to place bets or using unlicensed sportsbooks. AGA believes that the state should close this loophole by passing legislation authorizing controlled wagering on sports.
House Bill 551, if passed, would allow licensed horse tracks and the Kentucky Derby to partner with up to three online sports betting skins, increasing the total number of operators in the state to a maximum of 27. The bill is currently under consideration by the state legislature.
The AGA letter respectfully urges the Senate to approve legislation that would enable the people of Kentucky to participate in sports betting through regulated and safe channels. Additionally, it highlights the need for swift and decisive action to regulate sports betting in Kentucky to protect consumers and offer an open and honest legal option for those interested in sports wagering.
The letter comes after GeoComply found 295,000 unsuccessful attempts to access internet sportsbooks located in other states during the opening weekend of the NCAA Men’s March Madness Tournament in Kentucky. This shows the demand for sports betting within the state, which AGA believes must be met with the implementation of safety regulations. If the House of Representatives passes House Bill 551, Kentucky will join other states in legalizing sports wagering and providing regulated choices to customers.