In March, about 532,000 attempts to bet on sports were blocked from Kentuckians wanting to wager in nearby states, according to the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
Sports betting is outlawed in Kentucky but is legal in most surrounding states. Bets in the legal states are blocked if they originate from Kentucky.
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However, a bill by state Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, would legalize in-person and mobile sports betting in Kentucky.
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Koenig said the blocked geolocation transactions during March show Kentucky should legalize sports betting. He said the state is “missing out” on tax revenue.
The NCAA men’s and women’s March Madness basketball tournaments took place mostly during March. Kentuckians, known to be enthusiastic basketball fans, were not able to bet on the games legally.
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Chamber Of Commerce Supports Sports Betting
John Cox, the Kentucky Chamber’s public affairs director, recently tweeted a map showing the blocked geolocation transactions over a 30-day period during March.
The blocked attempts were complied by GeoComply, a Canada-based company providing geolocation compliance and fraud-security services.
“Half a million attempts to make bets on sporting events in KY blocked last month,” Cox recently tweeted. “Why not collect that revenue & give people what they want?”
According to the information that Cox tweeted, 85% of the geolocation transactions were from people in Kentucky attempting to access legal sportsbooks in the bordering states of Indiana, Virginia and Tennessee.
In March, nearly 41,000 “unique sportsbook player accounts” were geolocated in Kentucky, according to Cox.
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Sports Betting Bill In Senate This Week
Koenig’s sports betting measure, House Bill 606, is set to come up for consideration in the state Senate this week.
Following a recess, lawmakers are set return to the statehouse in Frankfort on Wednesday and Thursday to wrap up this year’s legislative session.
The state House previously approved HB606 by a margin of almost 2-1, but the Senate also would need to green light the bill before it can go to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear for his consideration.
The governor has indicated he supports sports betting. Unless the bill is approved in the Senate this week, however, it will die at the Legislature this year without making it to the governor’s desk.
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Bill Faces Resistance In Senate
The sports betting bill’s fate in the Senate is uncertain.
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, has said he doubts there is enough support for sports betting to be approved in the upper chamber.
Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Senate, 30-8.
Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, told Gambling.com sports betting faces opposition in parts of the state with larger numbers of conservative and religious residents.
“There’s a lot of opposition in the rural parts of the state,” he said.
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However, Thayer, who supports sports betting, told Gambling.com it would be “a natural” in Kentucky, given the state’s long history with horse racing and legal parimutual wagering.
The Kentucky Derby, held annually in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, is the first leg of the Triple Crown. It is one of the most celebrated races worldwide.
Koenig’s bill would legalize mobile sports betting and on-site wagering at horse tracks. It also would permit online poker and fantasy sports game.
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