Kentucky Senate Fails to Vote on Sports Betting Bill; Here’s What’s Next

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
4 min read
Kentucky Senate Fails To Vote
  • Kentucky Legislative Session Ends Without Senate Vote on Sports Betting
  • Opponents See Sports Betting as Threat to Existing Kentucky Money Makers
  • What’s Next: New Sports Betting Bill Must Be Written, Reintroduced to State Congress

Kentucky Legislative Session Ends Without Senate Vote on Sports Betting

The legislative session deadline Kentucky’s congress was facing has come and gone without a Senate vote on the contentious sports betting bill that had received a 58-30 vote in the House, that issue is now stalled as neighboring states continue to launch their own lucrative markets.

That was despite Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer being the main sponsor of that bill – HB 606 – his goal being to give Kentucky bettors the choice to place legal and regulated sports bets instead of having to find alternative ways to do that, an unhappy Thayer saying:

“I’m personally disappointed that we were unable to pass sports betting. … We just don’t have the votes. I think we should allow the people of Kentucky to make a choice of their own free will, like all of our surrounding states do, to be able to make a legal wager on sports.”

Especially given that now Bluegrass State gamblers only have to take a short drive to whichever neighboring state is closest, with VirginiaWest VirginiaTennesseeIndiana, and Illinois all with their own legal sports betting markets now in place.

But many opponents of the issue have a different take on that activity in general.

Opponents See Sports Betting as Threat to Existing Kentucky Money Makers

The fight against legalizing, regulating, and taxing the sports betting market in Kentucky is both financial and moral in nature, with some lawmakers opposing the issue due to the potential harm it could cause addictive residents and others not happy with the competition it would bring.

One such naysayer is David Walls, executive director of The Family Foundation, who sees the legalization of sports betting in his state as just another way to victimize Kentucky’s poorest residents, telling the media:

It is an industry not designed to create wealth but to simply transfer wealth, primarily from the poor to the wealthy.

Gambling might do that, but what some opponents fail to recognize is this sports betting market already exists for Kentucky residents, except it’s through unregulated offshore sportsbooks and black-market bookies so all that money being spent is just flowing out of the state.

That sports betting could take away some of Kentucky’s horserace gambling action is a legitimate concern as is that it might threaten the bourbon tourist dollar, however, chances are legalizing that market and the attention it brings will only serve to increase everyone’s bottom line.

What’s Next: New Sports Betting Bill Must Be Written, Reintroduced to State Congress

Now that HB 606 is dead and buried, Kentucky lawmakers must go back to the sports betting legislation drawing board and write up a new bill that most likely addresses the concerns that opponents still seem to have.

A sports betting market in Kentucky already exists underground so it behooves state lawmakers to figure out a way to capitalize on that outward cash flow, with some industry experts projecting $22.5 million in annual tax revenue, money that could go towards some important state issues.

According to Senator Thayer, it is only a matter of time before enough of his colleagues begin to accept the inevitable future, with 2023 looking hopeful for this issue to finally move forward, so keep checking back here for all the latest news and updates.

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Mike Lukas

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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.
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