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When it comes to whether legal sports betting market would be welcome in Kentucky, the ‘ayes’ have it, at least according to the recently released results of a survey conducted earlier this month by Public Opinion Strategies for Kentucky Sports Betting Now.
Five hundred Kentuckians who are registered to vote were polled from February 5-7, 2022, and a strong majority answered that they would be in favor of allowing sports betting at Kentucky horse racetracks as well as online gambling using mobile sportsbooks accessible statewide.
Last Thursday’s results came as no surprise to many industry leaders and state lawmakers, like State Rep. Adam Koenig, a longtime proponent of Kentucky sports betting, who told the media:
This poll confirms what we already know, that Kentuckians are ready to legalize sports betting.
Rep. Koenig has known this for a while now, having introduced sports betting legislation to the Kentucky General Assembly in past sessions.
It’s not like Kentucky lawmakers haven’t been trying to bring legal sports betting market to the Bluegrass State, their past efforts culminating in four separate bills being introduced to the state’s legislative chambers, with all of them eventually being struck down.
But those same lawmakers should continue to carve out some version of that bill since it is clear that two-thirds of Kentucky voters want to see a legal, regulated, and taxed sports gambling market launch in their state.
After all, Kentucky bettors are already spending millions of dollars on sports wagers, they are just having to go elsewhere to place their bets, with offshore sportsbooks and illegal bookies more than happy to take their gambling money.
And now those bets can also be placed using the legal sportsbooks of Kentucky’s closest neighbors.
All the states that surround Kentucky (except for Missouri) have some version of a legal sports betting market, which means that Bluegrass bettors can take a quick trip to Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee if they want to legally gamble on sports.
It’s a reality not lost on Rep. Koenig, who has tried to sound the horn on this side of the issue to his fellow lawmakers in the past, and the bottom line comes to a lost income stream that Kentucky is continuing to take a pass on, telling the press:
Surrounding stats have already done so and we are losing millions because of it. We are practically landlocked as we lose revenue that could be paying off our $27 billion pension debt and freeing up resources to educate our children, pave our roads, and meet our obligations.
What Koenig and other proponents of legal sports betting are trying to argue is that making sports betting illegal doesn’t stop it from happening, it just prevents Kentucky from benefitting from its existence, and that, according to polled voters, is not what 65% of the people there want.
With Kentucky’s state legislative session already halfway done and scheduled to end sometime in the middle of April, time is running out (once again) on this financially critical issue, so keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on this ongoing story.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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