The odds were finally in favor of sports betting in the Kentucky legislature
With just hours left on the clock, the state Senate mustered the 60% vote needed to enact sport wagering legislation, which involves new taxation.
The vote marked the end of a long and contentious debate, with backers pointing to Kentucky as an outlier in the region.
"We are a sports crazy state," Sen. Damon Thayer argued. "We love our sports in the commonwealth, and people want to be able to make the choice, of their own free will, to make a wager on a sports event like almost all of our surrounding states."
Skeptics maintained that the amount of new tax revenue sports betting might generate — an estimated $23 million or so — doesn't justify the amount vulnerable, low income Kentuckians might wager.
"Gambling on whatever sport you want to be on is money that's not spent in a church offering plate, that's not spent on a United Way campaign, that's not spent in a nonprofit that needs you. It's not spent on food at the grocery store, that sustains workers in your community," Sen. Whitney Westerfield said.
That argument wasn't enough to stop the measure from moving forward. Under the bill, sports betting would be taxed at 9.75% at horse racing facilities and just over 14% online.