The state of Kentucky could be one of the next states to legalize sports betting, and a certain lawmaker will be introducing a bill in early 2022. Representative Adam Koenig has announced that he will once again try to get a bill passed, and this won’t be his first attempt in Kentucky.
Lawmakers in Kentucky will first enter in session on January 4, and that session will run through April 15. This will give Koenig plenty of time to introduce his bill in hopes of gaining enough support to get the measure passed.
If sports betting were to be approved in Kentucky, the revenue would go towards education. Other states have recently used the money for education as a way to gain support, but it might not take that to get enough support this time around.
Kentucky is a state with a long history of betting, but the only sport available to wager on has been horse racing. Other lawmakers have expressed optimism that sports betting will eventually become legal in Kentucky, but it might not happen in 2022.
Competition With Ohio?
One of the biggest reasons that Kentucky might finally legalize sports betting is that it is now facing pressure from Ohio. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently signed a bill to legalize sports betting, and that is going to force some action from Kentucky.
Kentucky will soon be surrounded by states with legal sports betting, and it could run the risk of losing revenue to its neighbors. With Ohio not set to launch sports betting until 2023, Kentucky could get ahead of its neighbor if it acts quickly.
Horse Racing is Big in Kentucky
The horse racing industry is big in Kentucky, and it’s not just the Kentucky Derby that is important to the state. Churchill Downs is the largest horse racing organization in Kentucky, but there are other groups in the mix as well.
Leaders in the horse racing industry seem to be on board with sports betting as well, and they will be included in any final decision. It seems inevitable that Kentucky will eventually have sports betting, and that changes the conversation completely.
Horse racing tracks in Kentucky will likely be given a chance to offer sports betting if this bill is passed.
Why the Opposition?
Lawmakers in Kentucky have been slow to warm to the idea of sports betting in the past, but there has been pressure coming from other groups or organizations. This pressure has kept some lawmakers from backing sports betting and running the risk of upsetting some of their constituents.
Groups that are opposed to sports betting argue that making this industry legal will bring new challenges to the state. Threats of violent crimes or other illegal activity are at the heart of that argument, and similar debates have been used in other states.
With more than 30 states in the U.S. with legal sports betting, the pressure is now on Kentucky to make a move.