sports betting

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Neighboring states appear to be winning big on sports betting, and a state legislator plans to get the ball rolling in Kentucky. 

Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, said he plans to introduce a sports wagering bill in the state legislature next session.

"You would be able to go to one of the existing tracks and place a bet and/or go to those existing tracks, download their app and then you would be able to use that app anywhere in the state of Kentucky," Koenig said.

He discussed the bill at U of L's fall equine speaker series Wednesday night. The event focused on how other states are cashing in big on sports and featured track representatives from New Jersey and Illinois, two states that have legalized sports betting.

Bettors in Indiana bet more than $91 million statewide on sports in October, and as a result, the Hoosier state raked in more than $1 million in tax revenue. That's money Kentucky is missing out on, sports gambling proponents say.

Koenig said he expects sports betting to generate annual tax revenue in Kentucky of at least $20 million. He said some of that $20 million could fund regulation and addiction prevention, while the rest could help fix the state's pension shortfall.

"It's not going to fix the pension hole by itself, but every little bit we can find is important, and we have perhaps the least well-funded system in America," Koenig said. 

Koenig had introduced in this year's session a similar bill, but it didn't advance after it passed out of committee.

He said he expects the bill to have a better chance in the next session, which is longer because the legislature will set a new budget for the next two years. Gov.-elect Andy Beshear also has expressed support of expanded gaming in Kentucky.

"I like our chances of getting it done next year," Koenig said.

His bill also includes online poker. The 2020 legislative session starts Jan. 7.

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