FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — It appears sports betting will not be legalized in Kentucky this year.
House Bill 606, the sports betting bill, remained stuck in the Senate on the final day of the 2022 legislative session. Supporters stopped short of declaring the bill dead but admitted they would need “some sort of Hail Mary pass” to get the bill into law.
“I’ve been for it. I’ve been trying to get other people to be for it. But I can’t make people be for it if they don’t want to be for it,” said Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer.
Thayer, a supporter of sports betting, said he’s frustrated over the situation. He says polls show that the majority of republicans, democrats, and independents in Kentucky support sports betting.
“Everywhere I go, people stop me and ask, why can’t you pass sports betting? The region I represent - it enjoys wide, wide popularity,” said Thayer.
However, some groups feel strongly against gambling in general.
The Family Foundation believes sports betting is an “expansion of predatory gambling” that “will only further impoverish Kentucky’s poor by taking money from the hands of Kentucky families and shifting it to the wealthy gambling industry.”
Thayer disagrees. He believes sports betting is a natural next step for Kentucky.
“I think it’s a natural extension of our history and tradition of betting on horses,” said Thayer.
Although Thayer is frustrated the Senate stalled the bill this year, he suggested it may be able to bill through in the future.
“Next year, after the elections, I think we’re going to have more people in the Senate who are going to be in favor of sports betting than we have today,” he said.