The legalized sports betting law will officially go into effect at the end of this June. House Leader Thayer initially said that the bill is estimated to bring in an annual $23 million in tax revenue that will then go towards the state’s public pension system among other areas of the state, and he said he thinks that number is low, and then cited how Tennessee has brought in $68 million in tax revenue from sports gambling.
The bill had the full support of the seven Democrats in the chamber with all seven voting yes, while the Republicans were more divided with 18 voting for the bill while 12 voted no.
The President of the GOP Caucus in the Senate, Robert Stivers seemed like he was the biggest obstacle for the vote. He was an assumed No, this whole time and then surprised a lot of the group in the meeting when he voted yes.
"I think that gave some other members the confidence to vote yes," Thayer said. "There's no doubt that his decision to vote yes was an absolute game changer, a seminal moment for sports betting in Kentucky.”
Thayer also said in a celebratory message, "I look forward to Kentuckians being able to place their wagers right here in the commonwealth instead of traveling across state lines to spend their money in other states.”
Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat who would normally not agree with Thayer on much politically, said, "After years of urging lawmakers to legalize sports betting, we finally did it!" Beshear wrote. "Today’s result shows that hard work pays off. Kentuckians will soon be able to place their bets here, and for the first time, we are going to keep those dollars to support our roads and bridges, schools and communities."
At the governor's signing ceremony Friday morning, Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Oakland, the lead sponsor of the bill, said this bill "might be the most bipartisan bill that was passed this session."