Kentucky Governor Reiterates Support For Legalizing Sports Betting

Written By Pat Evans on September 2, 2022
Kentucky sports betting

After nearly surprising the industry this spring, Kentucky sports betting legalization remains a few people short of reality.

At the opening of a new gaming portion at Turfway Park last week, Gov. Andy Beshear reaffirmed his backing of KY sports betting legalization. This year’s legislation stalled out without a senate vote  after passing the House.

Beshear said it is one or two legislators keeping it from crossing the line.

“I’m 100% for sports betting,” Beshear said, per WCPO Cincinnati. “Pushed it every year I’ve been governor and as I was attorney general. Need a few people in the general assembly to come around. There are a whole lot of them here tonight. Hopefully, they like what they see.”

‘Time to catch up’ for Kentucky sports betting

Unfortunately for Beshear, one of the main proponents in the legislature, Rep. Adam Koenig, lost a primary election this summer.

Koenig has pushed the legislative efforts the past several years. Beshear is facing an election this year as well.

“The general assembly has failed to pass sports betting, failed to pass full gaming, failed to pass medical marijuana,” Beshear said. “We’re behind the rest of the country on those things. It’s time to catch up.”

2022 Kentucky legislative effort stalls

Kentucky sports betting legislation passed the House, 58-30. Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, who leads 30 of the Senate’s 38 members, said he was disappointed he could not get his chamber on board.

Along with the support of the governor and the House, Kentucky public opinion is also overwhelmingly supportive of legalization. A Public Opinion Strategies poll earlier this year found 65% of Kentuckians want sports betting.

Next year could be a tough road for sports betting in Kentucky, as odd years require a three-fifths majority in a short legislative session. The state could also have a new governor who might be less supportive of sports betting than Beshear.

Neighboring states go live

By early 2023, Kentucky will be nearly surrounded by legal sports betting markets. Missouri almost passed sports betting this year, which would have closed a final 40-mile border with a state without sports betting.

Ohio sports betting will take off in January. Other states around Kentucky:

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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