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Kentucky Lawmaker Calls Sports Betting at Churchill Downs “Inevitable”

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
11 min read
Kentucky Lawmaker Churchill Downs
  • KY State Rep. Adam Koenig Sees Sports Betting at Churchill Downs as “Inevitable”
  • Most of Kentucky’s State Neighbors Already Have Legal Sports Betting
  • Opponents to a Legal Kentucky Sports Betting Market Fear Problem Gambling

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KY State Rep. Adam Koenig Sees Sports Betting at Churchill Downs as “Inevitable”

Anyone who watched the 80-1 longshot racehorse named Rich Strike run away with the Kentucky Derby last week understands exactly how exciting it can be at the Churchill Downs racetrack but imagine that same venue once a legal sports betting market launches in the state.

According to KY State Rep. Adam Koenig, a longtime advocate for a legal Bluegrass State sports gambling market that would give Churchill Downs bettors more to gamble on than just thoroughbreds, failing to launch this year is just a minor setback, saying:

All we did was postpone the inevitable. Everyone knows it’s going on. Everyone knows that. We’re surrounded by it.

Koenig is referring to the state Senate’s refusal to vote during the prior session on a sports betting bill that the House had already passed, another stall that postpones the launch of a market that many industry insiders also see as part of Kentucky’s inescapable future.

Especially given that most of Kentucky’s state neighbors have already gone that way.

What pro-sports betting Kentucky lawmakers like Koenig realize is that state residents are already making sports-related wagers, they are just having to use outside resources to place their bets, including unregulated offshore sportsbooks who keep all that money for themselves.

Same with the legal sportsbooks that Kentucky’s neighboring states like VirginiaWest VirginiaTennesseeIndiana, and Illinois have already launched, all a quick drive away for many KY residents who want to legally place a bet, and that money also flows outwards and away.

The inevitability of a legal sports betting market launching in Kentucky is most likely due to how much money such an operation would begin to funnel back homewards the same way it has been happening in over thirty other states in the U.S. and counting.

Supporters of Kentucky sports betting legislation have estimated that legal sports gambling could generate $25 million in annual revenue or more, whereas those who are against such a market fear it would simply fuel existing addictions and therefore shouldn’t be considered at all.

Those who are against legalizing sports betting in Kentucky fear it would fuel an increase in what some call ‘problem gambling’ or gambling addiction, with moral leaders like David Walls of the Family Foundation splitting zero hairs on the issue, saying:

This type of predatory gambling is designed to prey on human weakness with the government colluding.

A valid argument that can be countered by examples in other states where such issues are directly addressed and funded by a percentage of any sports betting revenue, a solution that accepts as a reality the existence of sports gamblers whether the market is legalized or not.

As for the future of this issue in Kentucky, the good news for gamblers is that Rep. Koenig is up for re-election and says he still plans to keep pushing for legal sports betting in Kentucky, 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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