Legalization of Sports Betting is a Lose-Lose for Kentucky says The Family Foundation

LEXINGTON, KY – Today, sports betting becomes legal in Kentucky in retail gambling locations, with online sports betting following on September 28. The expansion of predatory gambling in the Commonwealth will harm Kentuckians through addiction, corruption, high social costs, and the alteration of sports.

“This expansion of predatory gambling is a lose-lose for Kentuckians, especially for children and the vulnerable. Despite claims of economic benefit, government-sponsored gambling is a cancer on the economy which has historically cost at least three times more in social harms than benefits,” said David Walls, Executive Director of The Family Foundation.

“Sports betting, especially when done on highly-addictive phones that will end up in the hands of children, only amplifies the resulting social harms of predatory gambling. Unfortunately, Kentucky should have every reason to expect addictions to grow, leading to more broken families, increased government spending, more opportunities for corruption, and sports scandals that will radically change the way children view sports,” Walls concluded.

On March 30, 2023, the Republican-controlled Kentucky General Assembly narrowly passed House Bill 551, by Rep. Michael Meredith (Dist. 19 – R) to legalize sports betting in the Commonwealth. Gov. Andy Beshear (D) signed the bill on March 31, 2023. Since passage, numerous sports betting scandals have come to light in college and professional athletics across the nation, including multiple athletes at the University of Iowa and Iowa State that pled guilty to underage gambling this week.


The Family Foundation is the leading Christian public policy organization in Kentucky and stands for Kentucky families and the Biblical values that make them strong. Learn more at

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