Kentucky Rep. Adam Koenig Believes State will Legalize Online Sports Betting...Eventually

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Sep 4, 2022 08:00 PM
Kentucky Rep. Adam Koenig Believes State will Legalize Online Sports Betting...Eventually

Kentucky Rep. Adam Koenig continues to be the state's primary driver of the bandwagon for legal sports betting. And while he has gained more than his fair share of supporters, his efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

Or have they actually been a subtle success?

Though sports betting in Kentucky remains illegal with the exception of in-person betting at the Kentucky Derby, the idea has started to become more mainstream—and even bipartisan. This may come across as a hollow victory. Kentucky Rep. Adam Koenig has admitted as much himself. He's even noted that people who think legal sports betting in Ohio, one of Kentucky's closest neighbors, portends anything for the Bluegrass State are sorely mistaken.

And yet, not even Koenig has been able to deny the progress made on the matter, even if it's incremental. ""It's been harder than I expected, but I'm gonna keep plugging away until I get it done," he told reporters. ""All we did was postpone the inevitable. Everyone knows it's going on. Everyone knows that. We're surrounded by it."

Could it really be this simple? Is Kentucky sports betting more so a matter of when rather than if?

Kentucky Rep. Adam Kroenig is Right...Sort Of

Kentucky Rep. Adam Koenig is right about one thing: The state is truly surrounded by legal sports betting.

Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Mississippi have all rolled out some form of legal sports betting already. Ohio, meanwhile, is set to have legal sports betting live in time for the 2022 NFL season. Once it rolls out there, there won't be a state in any direction that borders Kentucky that hasn't okayed some method of gambling.

This increase in popularity could be enough to push Kentucky officials to back Rep. Adam Kroenig and his support of an open-ended sports betting initiative that allows for commercial online sportsbooks to enter the market. We have seen similar instances of this play out in Ohio specially. Surrounded by legal sports betting just about everywhere else, the state began to actively push for it after spending a lot of time voting it down.

Kentucky should, in theory, be even more motivated to join the fold. They are more surrounded by legal sports betting elsewhere than most other states in similar situations. By disallowing bets on sports beyond the Kentucky Derby, they're not actually prohibiting anything. Residents of the Bluegrass State are about to be within driving distance of eight states with sports betting offerings.

And this doesn't even begin to factor in the wagers already being placed online. Geotracking data may disallow Kentucky residents from signing up with domestic oddsmakers, but there are plenty of respected sites from our reviews of the top online sportsbooks that permit people from anywhere in the United States to make an account. No official number has been assigned to how much Kentucky residents spend on out-of-market sports betting, but there's a better-than-great chance that it's in the hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Is Kentucky Sports Betting Really Inevitable?

When Kentucky Rep. Adam Koenig said the state was merely delaying the "inevitable," it caught everyone's attention. He is not someone who has generally spoken in absolutes during his push to legalize online sports betting in Kentucky.

Once again, though, Koenig appears to have a point.

Kentucky's latest sports betting bill may have failed to pass this year, but it showed more than a few signs of life. After receiving support from mostly the Democratic minority, more of Kentucky Rep. Adam Koenig's Republican colleagues began following his lead—including Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is also a known ally of sports betting.

This uptick in interest even left many believing an official call to legalize gambling might make it through by the end of 2022. Invariably, though, opposing and supporting sides were unable to find a compromise on how much control, if any, racetracks should be given over retail and online betting markets.

Still, it's encouraging that the bill made it through the House of Representatives and onto the Senate floor. And not only did it make the Senate floor, it was actually talked about. Other states, such as Idaho and Utah, have shown little inclination to even talk about legal sports betting, let alone send it through and discuss it on the Senate floor.

Does Kentucky Rep. Adam Koenig Have a Timeline for Legal Sports Betting?

Unfortunately, Kentucky Rep. Adam Koenig did not provide a concrete timeline for when legal sports betting might hit the state. Fortunately, however, we can read the tealeaves and estimate a start date.

Kentucky's next legislative session will take place in 2023. Unlike other states, though, they only convene for 30 days during odd-numbered years. That most likely won't be enough to get the three-fifths majority support needed to sign legal sports betting into law.

Meetings that take place in 2024 are expected to be a different story. The Kentucky House of Representatives and Senate will meet for a longer period of time, ensuring they have ample opportunity to haggle over compromises pertaining to retail online sports betting. Discussions on the matter will also continue between now and then. There is a scenario in which the next extended Senate meeting begins with a tentative sports betting agreement already in place.

Using this timeline, this puts legal sports betting in Kentucky towards the latter end of 2024. With that said, Kentucky residents should be prepared for the status quo to last until at least 2025, as setting up gambling licenses and infrastructures can take over a year sports betting is signed into law.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that will work for all of your sports betting needs:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

Online Sports Betting may receive compensation if you sign up through our links. Rest assured, we avoid biases and provide honest opinions on sportsbooks. Read more here.