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Could Cross-State Wagering Prompt Legal Kentucky Sports Betting

Kentucky Wildcats mascot celebrating the potential of legal sports betting in KY

As the number of US states that allow for legal sports betting of some kind continues to grow, gamblers in territories where no sportsbooks are present are now traveling to neighboring regions to place a wager.

This is especially true in areas of the country that share borders with states that offer mobile sports betting. In those cases, residents of one state can drive across the border, park, and place a bet on their mobile phones.

Take Kentucky as an example. Local politicians are incredibly conservative and are largely opposed to the prospect of legal sports betting in KY.

Gamblers located in Louisville, KY, can drive a few miles into Indiana and legally place wagers on pro and college games using mobile sports betting apps on their iPhones, iPads, or Android smartphones or tablets, as long as they are connected to the web.

It is no different than hopping across the border to purchase Mega Millions lottery tickets or partaking in recreational marijuana, should the given state offer those options legally.

“People are literally going across the border, parking, making their wagers on a telephone, and those tax revenues are going out of this state to other states,”

Kentucky State Representative Al Gentry

The message that KY state Rep. Al Gentry intends to send to his fellow legislators is that keeping legal sports betting dormant is fiscally irresponsible to their constituents.

The money that is being spent out of state on domestic sports betting represents sizable revenue totals that convert to tax dollars and can have a drastic impact on shoring up budget shortfalls.

To add confusion to the matter, betting on horse races is legal in Kentucky, largely due to the presence of the Kentucky Derby.

The 2023 legislative session began in Kentucky on January 3rd, with the sine die scheduled for May 5th. House Representative Gentry plans to introduce a new bi-partisan bill soon in hopes of legalizing domestic sportsbooks

“[The new bill] will legalize sports betting and in much the same fashion as before, which would be administered by the horse racing commission and would generate, we believe, north of $20 million a year for the state in tax revenues,”

KY Rep. Gentry

There is no word as to what types of sports betting will be allowed. If tax collections are the main concern, then allowing for online sportsbooks and mobile sports betting apps will likely be a part of the new legislation.

The reason is simple. States that permit online and mobile sports betting options generate a lot more revenue than those that only feature brick-and-mortar operations.

The convenience of betting on your phone from anywhere in the state greatly outweighs the desire to travel to a local venue and place a wager in person.

An element that could keep Gentry’s new sports betting bill from making any headway is Kentucky’s large population of citizens that fall under the poverty line. Politicians that represent those regions of KY will likely oppose any measures that entice low-income families to spend their dollars on sports gambling.

Source – Spectrum News 1

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