Kentucky Governor signs bill banning unregulated skill games

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Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: March 20, 2023 19:33 PDT

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed on Thursday a measure that bans unregulated skill games throughout the state. The measure, House Bill 594, was designed specifically to stop the spread of unregulated slot machine and video gaming terminals throughout the state, but the measure's language is expansive enough to cover online poker and other forms of online gambling under its definitions.

HB 594's signing into law places an extra hurdle in the path of any form of online poker or casino-style gaming becoming regulated in the Bluegrass State. The bill's passage and signing comes just three weeks after online-poker provisions were stripped from a separate sports-betting regulatory measure still receiving consideration in the state's legislature.

The ban received backing from the few major, established gambling entities in the state, including Louisville's Churchill Downs Inc. The bill was also endorsed by the American Gaming Association.

"This notches a milestone victory for the legal gaming industry in our fight against illegal gambling," said American Gaming Association CEO Bill Millar in a brief statement. "Kentucky is the first state to pass standalone legislation banning unregulated gambling machines and joins Virginia in taking proactive government action to eliminate these bad actors."

Miller added, "This win is a testament to what we can accomplish when we unite as an industry behind a common cause—and the American Gaming Association will use it as a springboard to pursue similar success in states throughout the country. ... Combating illegal gambling in all its forms remains one of AGA’s top priorities."