If you live in Kentucky and enjoy sports gambling you are out of luck unless you like betting on horses, the same as it’s been since May 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA and allowed each state to choose whether it wants to legalize sports betting.
Of course, wagering on horse racing in Kentucky – the home of the famed Kentucky Derby – has been legal for ages but despite multiple efforts by state lawmakers betting on every other sport continues to be against the law there despite being home to millions of sports gamblers.
State Rep. Adam Koenig attempted to introduce legal sports betting bill to the state congress earlier this year but Conservatives in the Senate objected to it so leadership prevented a final legislative vote, though Sen. Majority Leader Damon Thayer remains optimistic it will get done:
I think [ sports betting ] is a natural extension of our long history and tradition of betting pari-mutelly on horses, which is a form of sports betting in my opinion. But there’s still a lot of anti-gambling sentiment in this building.
Those responsible gambling advocates continue to speak up.
Last week, Mike Stone, the executive director for the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling (KYCPG), met with the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations and gave them some cold truth about problem gambling in that state.
According to Stone, as many as 64,000 Kentucky residents are currently addicted to gambling, while 165,000 more exhibit signs of problem gambling, too many to ignore and do nothing about, the KYCPG director requesting funds for treatment and telling those state lawmakers:
The prevention and awareness aspect of this issue may be even more important as our society moves towards a legitimatization and acceptance of gambling as part of our culture. We need to have programs that educate and make people aware of what the potential is, and that is also what a large part of the money that we’re talking about would go toward.
It is a serious issue every state should consider, one that we have covered extensively in the past from both sides of the bet – how the Sportsbooks and the bettors can work together to ensure that there is only responsible gambling taking place with tactics to make that easier.
It’s not like Kentuckians aren’t already sports betting.
Kentucky is ringed with states that have already legalized sports betting including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, part of the over thirty states who now have a regulated and taxed market that creates a new income stream lawmakers can earmark.
Tax revenue from sports betting in other states goes towards education, infrastructure, community services, and even towards mitigating problem gambling, out-of-state projects that Kentucky bettors are contributing to by traveling to wager in those markets.
Not to mention the unregulated offshore sportsbooks still being used as well as the local illegal bookies always happy to take action, with all that money leaving the state and benefitting others instead of being recirculated back into Kentucky.
Lawmakers should take up this debate in 2023 when Kentucky’s next legislative session starts on January 3, a chance for those representatives of the Bluegrass voters to give them a legal and safer option for an activity that they are already enjoying.
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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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