FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky is one step closer to legalizing sports betting.
The House passed a bipartisan bill Monday evening, but the legislation faces another hurdle in the Senate.
House Bill 551, which passed by a vote of 63-34, would allow sports betting through licensed locations, like tracks and simulcast facilities, in person and on websites and mobile apps.
Bill sponsor Rep. Michael Meredith (R, Oakland) said one study shows Kentucky could bring in more than $22 million each year in tax revenue.
Under the measure, 2.5% of that revenue would be dedicated to a problem gaming fund.
Meredith said Kentuckians are already spending money in other states, so it's long overdue for the state to legalize sports wagering.
"Forty six counties of the 120 counties in Kentucky border a state that has legalized sports wagering within their borders and you literally just have to drive across the county line or cross the river to go take part in their programs," he said.
Rep. Chris Fugate (R, Chavies) voted no and said HB 551 was "not legislation that Kentucky can be proud of."
"I voted no today because this is not good for Kentucky," he said. "It’s not good for families. It’s not good for people, and I really hope and pray we get to see some bills that will bring, legislation that will bring jobs into East Kentucky and to the rural parts of the state."
Rep. Josh Calloway (R, Irvington), who opposed the bill, filed amendments to ban the use of credit cards for betting and raise the age to access sports betting from 18 to 21, but both amendments failed.
Last year’s sports betting bill passed the House, but never got a vote in the Senate.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R, Georgetown), who supports sports betting, told Spectrum News 1 Friday, "If we only needed 20 votes, I think I could speak pretty confidently that we could pass it, but we need 23 and I would say that it's close, but I don't know if we're there yet."