Online poker bill passes in Kentucky

Jon Pill
Posted on: March 28, 2022 14:49 PDT

Kentucky's State Senate has passed a bill that will legalize and regulate retail and online sports wagering, fantasy contests, and also, most importantly, online poker.

Somewhat confusingly, Bill 606 is more or less identical to Bill 213 which came before the Senate in February. Bill 213 is still technically in the system, awaiting potential approval by the Licensing and Occupations Committee. What will happen to the now redundant Bill 213 has yet to be tidied up, but no doubt its role will be subsumed by Bill 606.

Bill 606 was sponsored primarily by Adam Koenig. This was a little unusual, as the almost identical Bill 213 was sponsored by Senator Yates. Other key sponsors of Bill 606 were: Alan Gentry, Michael Meredith, David Osborne, Kimberly Banta, Rachel Roberts, Thomas Huff, and Cherlynn Stevenson.

They also had support from Kentucky Governor, Andy Beshear, who has been pushing for online gambling in his state for a while now.

After the third reading of Bill 606, the Senate passed the bill with a 58 to 30 majority.

The details of Kentucky's online poker bill

The key details from Bill 606 are as follows.

Sports wagering and poker will only be available at licensed tracks and stadiums or on mobile apps. Tracks and stadiums will only be able to partner with one app provider at a time.

Until 2024, players will have to register for the apps in person at the site's brick-and-mortar partner. Once 2024 comes around, the in-person restriction will be lifted. Players will be able to register online so long as they are at least 18 years old.

This raises the intriguing possibility of PokerStars returning to Kentucky after its $300 million settlement with the state.

There were also two amendments to be considered at the third and final reading of the bill. The first would have created a mandatory $1,000 daily loss-limit. This amendment was rejected.

The second amendment was a simple rewording of the details in the tax section of the bill. The original wording could be interpreted to apply the tax to the amounts staked. The new wording clarified that the 9.75% operator tax would be applied to the adjusted gross revenue of brick and mortar wagering.

Online revenue will be taxed at a slightly higher rate of 14.25%. Players will need to check the local, state, and federal income tax laws to determine if they have to pay tax on their winnings and if so, how much.

Featured image source: Flickr by Maria Eklind, used under CC License.