Kentucky Bill could Legalize Sports Betting, Help Retirement Funds


Kentucky has a problem with retirement funds for public workers. The state’s pension systems having a combined shortfall of several billion dollars, leaving many of those public workers, like teachers, worried.

“We’ve just had a lot of questions, a lot of uncertainty, and so with uncertainty comes a little bit of fear. And so a lot of teachers are calling our office, and asking information about retirement, asking about their pensions,” Henderson County Schools Public Information Officer Megan Mortis said.

Some teachers are worried about having their pension benefits frozen, or future teachers denied pensions. One possibility for Kentucky would be transitioning public workers to a 401K-retirement plan.

One Kentucky senator has an idea he thinks could help both teachers, and other public workers.

“We are dealing with an issue of underfunding, and the underfunding has actually gone on for several years, and it is time that we actually did the right thing, and that is provide dollars,” Kentucky State Senator Julian Carroll said.

On Wednesday, Carroll filed the sports wagering bill, which would allow people to legally bet on sports at Kentucky racetracks.

60 percent of the revenue generated would go into the state’s retirement system, including some money going to the Teachers Retirement System. Another 30 percent would go to the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship. The remaining 10 would go to racetracks.

“Certainly I’m anxious in doing so with so much illegal betting going on out there now that we might as well capture the income from it,” Carroll said. “And all I’m trying to do in Kentucky basically, is regulate it, because it is already by statute legal,”

It is legal by statute, but a federal act in 1992 made it illegal in Kentucky and every other state, except the few, which were exempt.

Kentucky along with other states has filed a brief to have the act declared unconstitutional, something that will be argued in front of the Supreme Court this fall.

And any changes that would come to Kentucky’s retirement funding would come in special legislative meeting.

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