Constitutional Amendment required for sports betting, says The Family Foundation

LEXINGTON, KY—A spokesman for The Family Foundation said today, at the Louisville Forum, that current efforts trying to allow sports betting by statute will not work. “In order for anyone to legalize sports betting in Kentucky, they will have to amend the state’s Constitution,” said Martin Cothran.

In a panel discussion with State Sen. Morgan McGarvey (Louisville), who is one of several state lawmakers discussing authorization of sports betting by the legislature, Cothran pointed out that the state Constitution only allows for certain forms of gambling and sports betting is not one them.

“Our Constitution allows only three kinds of gambling: pari-mutuel wagering on horse races, a state-sponsored lottery, and charitable gaming. Sports betting does not fit under any of these,” said Cothran.

“A Constitutional amendment involves passing a bill in both chambers of the General Assembly by super-majority,” Cothran said, “and then putting it on the ballot for voters to ratify.”

Cothran also pointed out the inordinate impact legalized sports betting would have on the poor and underclass.

“Like the Lottery which, I think we all know, derives much of its revenue from people who can least afford it – will take from the poor and give to the rich,” said Cothran. “ And for the state to share in the take is simply a regressive tax.”


Martin Cothran is the Senior Policy Analyst for The Family Foundation.

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