House Bill 594, sponsored by Rep. Killian Timoney, would ban gray machines and make them illegal in Kentucky while implementing a $25,000 fine for those operating the machines that would be paid to the county where they were operating.
There are currently three forms of legal gaming in Kentucky. These machines fall outside the three regulated categories of the Kentucky lottery, charitable gaming, and parimutuel wagering on horse racing. No taxes are being collected on the machines addressed in the bill, and no regulation exists.
Sen. Mike Wilson noted that the bill on the Senate floor helps define what legal gambling in Kentucky is and what is not, which he said is the legislature’s job. He said he is personally interested in this bill because he has seen the impact the rise of the machines has had on veterans groups and their ability to raise funds through charitable gaming, which they rely on to support their services.
The bill passed the Senate with little discussion and now goes to the governor for his signature or veto.
Also seeing signatures from each legislative body in preparation to be sent to the governor’s desk was House Bill 146, a cleanup to 2022’s House Bill 4, which made major reforms to the state’s unemployment insurance system.
The new legislation contains several points of clarification and some revisions based on feedback from the U.S. Department of Labor to help ensure the new law fully conforms with federal UI law. Bill sponsor Rep. Russell Webber has previously stated that the bill preserves the original intent of House Bill 4, which was to support rapid reemployment and ensure the sustainability of the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund. House Bill 4 was a top Chamber priority in the 2022 session.
Small changes in the bill include technical modifications to the statute and points of clarification and changing the maximum duration of weeks from 12 weeks to 16 weeks during periods of low unemployment.