Sports betting in Kentucky less likely to pass this legislative session

April 13, 2022

The future of legal sports betting in Kentucky is dangling at the hands of the Senate members as measures against House gambling have been set forth. With only three days left in the legislative session, a little to no time for Senate members to negotiate or amend the betting bill will likely be ended up not passing.

Speaking to journalists on Friday last week, Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer expressed perhaps less optimism of his more conservative members to welcome the bill or even towards both in-person or legal mobile sports betting in the Commonwealth.

"A lot of my caucus members, especially from the rural areas, aren't for it," Thayer added.

"Even assuming that most of the Democrats will vote for sports betting, when I walked out of here last week, we still did not have enough votes to pass it."

Sports betting in Kentucky, major roadblocks

Last month, the Kentucky House passed what came to be known as the House Bill 606, the sports betting, which ended up garnering a 58-30 vote. There is not much development as of today since the bill had struck a major roadblock in a relatively Republican-controlled Senate.

But the bill is far from finished. At the very least for now.

"It's still alive," Thayer exclaimed. "We gave it readings for a reason—to keep it alive."

The bill could potentially end up passing as a law, but efforts and persuasion are likely needed for other members who came out not biting the proposal, especially those in rural areas. Thayer explained even a $40 million in annual state revenues made available on the table, passing the bill means that it requires direct support from within and will likely take a long shot.

Something that sports betting advocates have been trying their best to convince senators in passing the bill. However, like Thayer, Senate President Robert Stivers admits the bill faces a “difficult time". ”The bill was quite a party-splitting, to say the least, including the Republicans. The House, which geared heavily to the Republican majority was split 37-30 on the issue. The Democrats on the other voted to approve the bill.

Hope might remain as the top-down political situation is bipartisanship, where the opposing parties found the common ground by compromising. This means that the 58-30 vote of House approval of the bill is subject to change.

But, the question of how long remains as bettors in Kentucky are more than prepared as the NBA is heading into the playoffs and closing into the finals.

One that must be on the compromising side of the spectrum is the bettors who must provide arrangements in placing their wages. In other words, sports betting fans will likely have to add the Commonwealth to their betting blacklist and head out to other states. Additionally, making Kentucky betting friendly means that the perception of select groups must be slightly altered, one of which is the Family Foundation, which strongly believes that sports betting is a “predatory gambling.”

"(Sports betting) will only further impoverish Kentucky’s poor by taking money from the hands of Kentucky families and shifting it to the wealthy gambling industry," Family Foundation via Lex18’s Karolina Buczek.

Such a view is one that Thayer “just doesn’t see”, adding people’s betting preferences will not likely hurt society.

"I don't think it's going to hurt society if people make the choice, of their own free will, to walk into the Red Mile to bet on the Super Bowl, or the Masters, or the Final Four," Thayer explained.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams is a sports gambling expert. He's been writing in the sports betting and DFS industry for over a decade. He specializes in MLB and NBA, along with College Basketball and College Football.