Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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Kentucky Senate Bill Seeks Mobile Gambling Legalization in State

Kentucky lawmakers are once again pushing ahead with a proposed legalization of numerous gambling verticals in the state. The state, which successfully fined the former The Stars Group brand PokerStars, has been trying to open up to various forms of gambling for a while now, citing the potential economic benefits and a piling debt as the reason why.

Efforts to Legalize Gambling in Kentucky Renewed

The latest regulatory move comes in Senate through Senate Bill 213 and the draft will seek to pass a number of verticals, including sports betting, fantasy sports, and online poker, as law. This hack trick of regulatory moves that are designed to give the state a maximum boost insofar as gambling revenue is concerned, will face a legislature that has been historically opposed to gambling so far.

Previous efforts to pass various bills, with a particular focus on poker, have fallen on deaf ears. Now, though, the United States is seized by a sports gaming fever and the number of states that support gambling in all of its permutations is growing. As is the case with such legislations, Kentucky’s draft bill will seek to establish the basis that can be used to introduce a regulated gambling industry.

Retail bets on sports, the bill argues, will be subject to 9.75% on the adjusted gross revenue. Online bets will command a higher rate at 14.25%. Any betting operations will be limited to racetrack, professional sports venues, and in-person registration will be obligatory, although this seems counter-intuitive at first blush, especially since mobile sports betting apps will be available for use anywhere in the state.

However, bill sponsors understand that in-person registration is a deterrent and the measure will be doing away with this provision in 2024 if the proposal is passed. The gambling age for players will be 18 and the apps will be available for download anywhere in and outside the state provided that players only engage in gambling from within the state’s borders. A geolocation solution will be used to ensure this.

Fantasy and Poker Licenses in Kentucky, Too

All retail venues will be able to accept a single skin at a time. Fantasy sports operators will pay a $5,000 license fee and a renewal fee that will be equal to 6% of their adjusted gross revenues. This fee may not be lower than the $5,000 paid originally. The bill also argues that applicants should start making their license applications now and go ahead with submissions before the deadline set for January 15, 2023.

Online poker licenses seem to carry a much heftier license application fee, though, perhaps of the historic background of the activity in the state. Anyone who wishes to participate in online poker as an operator will need to pay $250,000 to acquire the license and then $10,000 to renew that license. The payments would be made annually. There will also be a 6.75% monthly tax on all net poker revenue.

Once again, anyone who is 18 or older may participate in poker contests online by downloading the apps. Much remains to be clarified and Senate Bill 213 is yet to pave the way for regulated gambling in Kentucky.

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