Kentucky Lawmakers Want Legalized Sports Betting

Let’s make a bet.  

Kentucky lawmakers will start the 2020 legislative season trying to figure out whether Kentucky should have legalized sports betting. If approved, Kentucky residents could bet at places like Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, or on mobile devices. Sports owners have dropped their opposition to legalized sports gambling because there is money in it for them. That is a remarkable turnaround for the sports industry which as recently as two years ago fought the establishment of state sportsbooks and muttered something about how gambling on their games was immoral. Sports owners have found that sports gambling money somehow trickles down to them in the form of marketing partnerships. In Kentucky, Representative Adam Koenig is once again pushing to get legalized sports gambling up and going. In 2019, Koenig introduced legislation that would have allowed sports gambling, fantasy sports betting along with online poker but Koenig got no support. He will try again. There is a division in Kentucky with urban areas wanting sports gambling and the rural areas not too interested. Koenig plans a political style campaign to push for sports gambling and will be joined by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in the battle. The Governor-elect Andy Beshear is looking into getting gambling into Kentucky and using gambling money to prop up Kentucky’s pension system.

In May 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States gave the greenlight to sports gambling in a case involving New Jersey’s bid to start sports betting in 2011. The National Football League fought New Jersey, now it embraces gambling. Nevada got legalized sportsbooks in 1949. New York, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, Oregon, New Mexico, Arkansas, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado and Tennessee now have various forms of sportsbooks. More states may join them in 2020.