Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting

Despite No Casinos, Kentucky Looks At Legalizing Sports Betting

Lawmakers Eye Grabbing A Piece Of Potential $6B Market In 5 Years


Kentucky is in the minority of states with regards to not having a casino, but that isn’t stopping local lawmakers from moving to legalize sports betting.

According to a report from, a bipartisan group of nine state lawmakers are crafting legislation to permit gambling on professional sports and likely college sports. Wagering on high school sporting events would be banned.

Despite being an opponent of Las Vegas-style casinos in Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin called last month’s Supreme Court ruling a “great win” for states. He reportedly indicated that he could support a sports betting bill.

Kentucky, home to the Derby, already allows betting on horse races.

State lawmakers are eyeing as much as $26 million in revenue from regulating and taxing sports betting, the report said.

“It’s a way that we can bring more money into the state’s coffers to pay for much-needed programs but it also increases the freedom of our citizens to direct their entertainment dollars where they think they ought to,” said Kentucky Republican Rep. Jason Nemes.

Despite the historically anti-casino stance, Kentucky also has online lottery gambling.

It’s possible that sports betting in Kentucky could further the casino push. As late as last year, a lawmaker said “the atmosphere is more receptive” for casino-style gambling.

If Kentucky approves sports betting, it would look to capture a share of a sports wagering market that could grow to $6 billion by 2023.