Kentucky Still Won’t Legalize Sports Betting

The Kentucky Wildcats mascot reacts. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP.

Top sportsbooks are waiting to open in Kentucky. 

But they will have to continue waiting because, while the state is making progress towards the legalization of sports betting in Kentucky, its efforts simply remain insufficient.

The political progress that has happened reflects a sustained interest in legalization of sports betting.

While things are moving in the right direction, there is also too much opposition.

It is this level of opposition which distinguishes Kentucky from surrounding states where legalization of sports betting has already been achieved.

HB 606 

House Bill 606 is the name of the Kentucky bill that was designed to legalize sports betting plus fantasy sports and online booker.

The House passed this bill through with a vote of 58-30. However, the bill also needs to go through the Senate.

Problematically, only a few days at this stage were devoted to convincing skeptical Senate politicians.

Instances of attempted persuading failed to achieve their objective of generating sufficient support for sports betting.

This failure took place despite the Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer’s attempt to make the prospect of legalization as favorable as possibly.

Specifically, he moved this bill to the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor. He considered this committee to offer a stronger chance for the legalization of sports betting.


The tensions over the legalization of sports betting are highly political. Democrats in the state support it, while Republicans support is far from unanimous. Some are blaming the lack of Republican votes while others are blaming Thayer in his function as Floor Leader.

Many wonder why it wasn’t moved to a floor vote in the Senate. But Kentucky politicians do not meet as often as politicians in other state legislatures.

They did not find a floor vote worthwhile in this case because the votes simply do not seem to be there yet in sufficient number.

Partisan feuding aside, this persisting lack of support is what this frustrating end boils down to.