Kentucky Sports Betting Left Without Leader Following Elections

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on November 16, 2022 - Last Updated on November 17, 2022
Online gambling in KY loses backer in the House

The legalization of sports betting in Kentucky will be an uphill climb after its primary champion was defeated in the November elections. 

Steven Doan defeated Rep. Adam Koenig, an eight-term incumbent from Northern Kentucky, in a Republican primary. Koenig is the chairman of the House Licensing and Occupations committee and has been the lead proponent of a bill to legalize, regulate and tax online gambling in Kentucky

With Koenig’s defeat, lawmakers remain divided on what to do next regarding the issue.

GOP leaders at a cross-road on Kentucky online gambling

GOP leaders remained mute when speaking on a panel for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Preview Conference in Lexington. 

House Speaker David Osborne said sports betting discussion will continue but who will lead them remains a mystery.

“I don’t know if a champion as such has come to the front, but it’s going to be an issue that continues to get discussion.”

However, Senate President Robert Stivers hinted that sports betting might not be an issue worth watching in 2023. “If it was such as winning issue I don’t think Adam Koenig would have lost,” Stivers said.

Once Ohio sports betting launches in January, six of the seven states that border Kentucky will have some form of legal online gambling, with Missouri being the exception. 

  1. Illinois
  2. Indiana
  3. Ohio (Jan. 1, 2023)
  4. West Virginia
  5. Virginia
  6. Tennessee
  7. Missouri (pending)

Will sports betting be an issue in 2023?

Earlier this year, a study conducted by the Public Opinion Strategies for Kentucky Sports Betting Now, found nearly two-thirds of Kentuckians support legalizing sports betting.

Public Opinion Strategies (POS) surveyed 500 registered voters finding that 65% supported sports betting compared to 26% opposed it

Further analysis of the survey concluded:

  • 69% of Democrats endorse sports betting
  • 58% of Republicans endorse sports betting
  • 81% of Independents endorse sports betting

Without a definitive leader, the legalization of sports betting and Kentucky online gambling may remain in limbo.  

Photo by PlayUSA
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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