After The Family Foundation's Testimony Against HB 137 - Sports Wagering

January 16, 2020

The impact of recognizing that gambling expansion NEEDS/REQUIRES a constitutional amendment is H-U-G-E.

First, a few quotes from yesterday:

“HB 137 is an expansion of gambling. I have heard several supporters of this bill—people I know and respect—who will acknowledge that expanded gambling requires a constitutional amendment and, in the next breath support this bill, an expansion of gambling, which flouts the language of the Constitution.”

“There is no criteria by which we can say both that expanded gambling requires
a constitutional amendment and that sports wagering does not. There is no net with holes big enough to let sports wagering through, but that are small enough to keep casino gambling back. Because—and I’ll say it again—sports wagering is expanded gambling.”

“There are only three forms of wagering allowed under our Constitution and the jurisprudence that has been issued interpreting it: pari-mutuel horse betting, charitable gaming, and the Lottery. Sports wagering doesn’t qualify under any of these.”

— from Martin Cothran’s testimony, Licensing and Occupations Committee, Jan.15

After Martin’s testimony, Todd Gray, Executive Director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, addressed his faithful with these words. (Excerpts)

“ . . . Europe has experienced problems with sports betting. It (an article on economist.com) says that cricket leagues across England have seen an increase in game fixing since betting on the matches became legal. In our own country, a 2016 NCAA survey of more than 20,000 NCAA athletes revealed that almost 25% of them gambled on sporting events. While the majority said they bet on NBA and NFL games, some said they bet on other NCAA sporting events. No one thinks it is a good idea for those playing in NCAA contests to bet on those games.”

“While there are certainly revenue issues in our state, Kentucky Baptists do not see sports betting, or expanded gambling, as the answer. In fact, it is a safer bet that legalizing wagering on sporting events will not help families and will have unintended consequences.”

“Last November, I joined more than 1,000 Kentucky Baptist leaders at our annual meeting.

We passed a resolution against expanding gambling in Kentucky. We believe expanding gambling is not a way we can better love our neighbors. We believe gambling does not promote a strong and healthy work ethic but entices people to be greedy as they will only succeed when others lose. We believe our commonwealth is not made better or stronger by expanding gambling as it seeks to prey on citizens rather than protect and serve them.”

“House Bill 137 does more than allow sports wagering to come to Kentucky. It is intended to be a gateway for expanding gambling in Kentucky.”

— from Todd Gray’s opinion piece to Kentucky Baptists after the Committee meeting on Jan.15

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