Survey Shows Kentuckians Want Sports Betting

Nearly two-thirds of Kentucky voters support sports betting, according to a recent poll, the same percentages as 2020. State Rep. Adam Koenig (l.), sponsor of several previous sports betting bills, says the poll demonstrates that his constituents want to bet.

Survey Shows Kentuckians Want Sports Betting

A recent survey by Republican pollster Robert Blizzard of Public Opinion Strategies indicated 65 percent of Kentucky voters support allowing on-site and online sports betting, versus 26 percent opposed. The numbers are nearly the same as the last time Blizzard polled the issue in 2020.

The survey also found sports betting has bipartisan support in Kentucky, with 58 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Democrats and 81 percent of independents in favor. Also, 48 percent of respondents said they’ve wagered on sporting events in the past; they either crossed state lines or used offshore apps or bookies to place bets.

The survey was conducted February 5 through February 7 among 500 registered voters, and has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

State Rep. Adam Koenig, sponsor of several previous sports betting bills, said, “This poll confirms what we already know, that Kentuckians are ready to legalize sports betting. Surrounding states have already done so and we are losing millions because of it. We are practically landlocked as we lose revenue that could be paying off our $27 billion pension debt and freeing up resources to educate our children, pave our roads and meet our obligations.”

Koenig added he doubts sports betting will be legalized soon in Kentucky.

“It’s fair to say voting ‘no’ on anything gambling is a safe vote, especially if you’re a Republican and have to face a Republican primary,” he said. “I’ve told folks that even if they don’t like me and they don’t like my bills, they might as well just pass it because I’m not leaving until I get it done.”

Meanwhile, Family Foundation spokesman Martin Cothran said any bill lawmakers may introduce that would be similar to the one proposed in 2020 would be “dead on arrival.”

He stated, “We don’t sense any desire on the part of state lawmakers to expand gambling in this state two years in a row. We don’t think a sports betting bill will even make it through the first round of the legislative playoffs, much less pass both chambers of the legislature. There is just no sentiment for getting into another ugly and divisive fight on gambling just a year after historic horseracing slot machines only barely made it through. It’ll take a hail Mary for this bill to even reach a vote in either chamber.”

The Family Foundation has opposed past bills because sports wagering is unconstitutional in Kentucky and because of concerns about problem gambling.

“The sponsors of these bills keep ignoring constitutional restrictions on gambling and trying to pass a regular statutory law. That’s not going to fly,” Cothran said.