Kentucky Senator Pre-Files Anti-Online Gambling Bill

December 22nd, 2014 | by Jason Reynolds
Kentucky Senator is trying to ban online gambling.

Senator Wilson is against online poker.

Another anti-online poker activist has made a move to outlaw the practice of placing bets online with a new bill entitled “BR 229”.

Devised and submitted by Kentucky Senator Mike Wilson (R-Bowling Green), BR 299 seeks to amend KRS 528.010 and, essentially, make electronic gambling illegal.

Online Poker Harmful to Charities

In Kentucky “charitable gaming”, which is defined by KRS 528.010 as “games of chance conducted by charitable organizations licensed and regulated under the provisions of KRS Chapter 238”, is legal. However, according to Wilson, the presence of online gambling cafes and other businesses is causing a decline in the industry.

“What they’ve done is they’ve taken away the charitable gaming from people like our veterans who are the VFW and the American Legion, which I’m a member there also. As well as, the Knights of Columbus, it’s really hurt them big time,” Wilson told WBKO News.

Although not quite the same disapproval conveyed by Sheldon Adelson, Wilson’s pre-filed bill would explicitly ban “illegal gambling devices” or, more specifically, electronic devices that “facilitate” Internet gambling.

BR 229: AN ACT relating to the placement of illegal gambling devices in business establishments and declaring an emergency.

Amend KRS 528.010 to include in the definition of “gambling device” an electronic device used to facilitate Internet gambling and to define “simulated gambling program.”

Kentucky’s Virtual Dilemma

Despite online poker sitting in Kentucky’s legal ether, the State does allow online horse racing betting.

In fact, the industry generates a lot of money for the State each year thanks to races such as the Kentucky Derby.

However, if Wilson’s bill is written into law then it could put a stop to this.

Additionally, Kentucky recently formed a partnership with online gambling provider GTECH.

The deal will see the GTECH provide the official online lottery platform for the State when it goes live in early 2015.

Again, however, Wilson’s bill would make it illegal for anyone in Kentucky to access the new lottery site because it would require the use of an electronic device.

The Changing State of US iGaming

As 2015 dawns and industry insiders consider the evolution of online poker laws in the US, Kentucky now presents another political uncertainty.

Although the State relies heavily on revenue from horse racing and lottery games, the claim that online gambling is affecting charitable organizations is bound to strike a chord with lawmakers.

Of course, as with all things linked to US igaming regulation, the road to resolution isn’t smooth and it is likely things will take a while before they are resolved.

One interesting point to take note of is that, if Wilson’s bid to outlaw Internet gaming in Kentucky proves unsuccessful, it could leave the door open for pro online poker lobbyists to push for regulation of the industry.


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