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Kentucky Lawmakers to Consider Two Sports Betting Measures Despite Pushback

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated February 14, 2023
8 min read
  • Two Sports Betting Bills – HB-106 and SB-73 – Now on Kentucky Legislative Docket
  • Family Foundation Pushback: Sports Betting Unconstitutional, Predatory, Addicting
  • Kentucky Legislators Have Until Mid-April to Debate Two Bills to Legalize Sports Betting
Kentucky Lawmakers to Consider Two Sports Betting

Two Sports Betting Bills – HB-106 and SB-73 – Now on Kentucky Legislative Docket

Of the 7 states that touch Kentucky’s border, all of them sans Missouri now have legal sports betting, so it’s no wonder Bluegrass State lawmakers are currently considering at least two related bills – House Bill 106 and Senate Bill 73 – each meant to launch such a market there.

That’s according to local reporter Connor Steffen of WHAS11 News who breaks down what Kentucky gamblers have been enduring ever since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May 2018 and gave each state the right to legalize, regulate, and tax a sports betting market.

Those two bills take different approaches regarding how such a market might look in Kentucky including the tax rate and whether to include online poker, both debatable factors that Sen. David Yates, D-Louisville seems to think could take a while to decide on, telling WHAS11:

"If you're a betting person, which I'm not, I think it's a long shot that we get it done this [legislative] session. But we're getting really close."

Without a legal Kentucky sports betting market, resident bettors have been forced to use unregulated means to place their action, either with offshore sportsbooks or local bookies or by traveling to the six bordering states where that activity is already legal.

A big reason for the slow Kentucky roll towards legal sports betting is the amount of pushback it is receiving from some lawmakers and one particular group.

Family Foundation Pushback: Sports Betting Unconstitutional, Predatory, Addicting

Steffen reports that legal sports betting in Kentucky has the support of nearly two-thirds of state voters and that issue’s “support crosses party lines too, with a majority of registered Republican, Independent and Democratic voters in Kentucky stating they’re “all in.””

Pushing back however is a Christian public policy organization called Family Foundation and they are reportedly against any legalization of sports betting in Kentucky due to three major concerns:

  • It’s unconstitutional: so the state constitution would have to be amended first, a tricky process.
  • It’s “predatory”: any potential sports betting measures “will take from the poor and give to the rich.”
  • It’s addicting: legalization will lead more Kentuckians to gambling addictions.

All valid concerns but certainly not deal breakers as the over thirty other states with legal sports betting already in place are in the middle of proving.

It’s a worthy debate that is running out of legislative time.

Kentucky Legislators Have Until Mid-April to Debate Two Bills to Legalize Sports Betting

Kentucky’s state legislative session for 2023 has already begun since January but it will only run until April 14 which is when it is scheduled to adjourn, not much time given the depth of the debate that must take place before any sports betting law is passed there.

Although some state leaders like Gov. Andy Beshear understand that state residents will continue to gamble on sports whether or not its legal, so it makes sense to regulate and tax that activity soon, recently saying as much during a Team Kentucky update on Feb. 9:

"We should have instituted sports betting four, five years ago. It's just a part of people's entertainment. It is ridiculous that we don't have sports betting now."

State lawmakers have about two months to get that job done so keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on this unfolding story.

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Mike Lukas

1204 Articles

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]

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