27% Of Kentucky Worries Sports Betting Will Hurt Horse Racing: Survey

There is no state more synonymous with horse racing than Kentucky.

The Bluegrass State is home to 14 venues that either host live races or offer simulcast betting. Furthermore, the industry’s most prestigious race, the Kentucky Derby, runs in Louisville.

According to an exclusive Gaming Today survey, more than one in four Kentucky residents are concerned about the impact of Kentucky sports betting on the horse racing world.

In our survey, 27% of Kentucky residents consider a negative impact on the Kentucky horse racing industry to be the biggest risk of sports betting launching in the state.

Survey Results Echo Sen. Damon Thayer

The concern isn’t exclusive to citizens. Kentucky lawmakers feel similarly.

Sen. Damon Thayer, the Kentucky Senate Majority Leader, told Gaming Today he was happy that the emergency sports betting regulations crafted by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission put sports betting “on equal footing” with horse racing, at least from a retail perspective.

Thayer’s comments show how prominent the horse racing industry is in the state. It’s even a consideration in the political landscape.

For example, the legal sports betting age in Kentucky will be 18. When legislators crafted HB 551, they wrote that provision into the bill specifically. Only a handful of other states allow that. In most jurisdictions, bettors need to be at least 21.

Why? Because you only need to be 18 years old to wager on horse races.

71% Of KY Sports Bettors Also Bet at Horse Racetracks

Interestingly, 13% of respondents said they have bet on sports in the past 12 months.

Of that group, 71% have also bet on horses at Kentucky tracks.

Those results indicate Kentucky’s sports betting and horse racing communities have a decent amount of overlap. That’s evidence that could help ease the concerns of residents worried about the effect on Kentucky horse race betting.

Problem Gambling Is the Biggest Concern

The survey showed that Kentuckians were most worried about increasing problem gambling; 69% of respondents said that was a concern of theirs.

Game integrity was just behind it at 38%. The impact on the horse racing industry and an abundance of gambling ads both clocked in at 27%.

There are some responsible gaming experts who believe the 18-year-old requirement will lead to a rise in problem gambling.

Survey Details

The Gaming Today survey polled 613 Kentuckians in June.

Overall, 74% of respondents were female and 26% were male. Here’s how the ages broke down:

  • 18-24, 16%
  • 25-34, 22%
  • 35-44, 22%
  • 45-54, 19%
  • >54, 21%
About the Author
Steve Schult

Steve Schult

Sports Betting Writer
Steve Schult is a veteran of the gambling industry with more than a decade of experience covering the space. After earning his journalism degree from Marist College, the New York native began covering high-stakes poker tournaments and the U.S. gambling industry for various outlets. Following stints as a writer for Card Player Media, Bluff Magazine, and the World Series of Poker, Schult joined Catena Media and has managed coverage for a handful of states.

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