Editor’s Note: The gambling industry has been trying to bring casino-style gambling into the state (through the legislature) for decades because of the massive volume of money to be gained (the losses of patrons). However, for the last eight years it’s tried though the courts.
Since 1994 the gambling industry has tried to sink its roots down in Kentucky by legalizing casinos or casino-style gambling. This year was no exception.
In the 2017 Session, House Bill 414 dealt with “Fantasy Sports.” Most legislators were simply told, “Fantasy Sports are already happening so let’s regulate and tax them.” The Family Foundation responded, “They are not legal in Kentucky, whether they are happening or not.” HB 414 failed. (HB 414 actually made Fantasy Sports legal . . . it just wasn’t “sold” to legislators that way.)
This year, House Bill 248 was going to LEGALIZE, regulate and tax “Fantasy Contests.” But HB 248 also failed. [Note: Fantasy Contests is a much broader concept.]
But, “surprise”. . . Senate Bill 228, an education bill, was amended in the House Education Committee by adding only that portion of HB 248 that fully legalized “Fantasy Contests” . . . but with no regulation, no accountability, no transparency and no revenue. So, as a gambling bill, it was the worst of all gambling bills.
It was particularly bad because “Fantasy Contests” were only vaguely described in SB 228 – not clearly defined. (This opened a HUGE can of worms.) And, these “Contests” were not regulated or taxed. Yet, the amendment made them legal. [Note that this manifestly was the intent from the gambling industry from the beginning – get Fantasy Contests legalized!
Fortunately, on the last day of the Session the amendment was stripped away. This was a major victory!