Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer: We’ll Run Sports Betting ‘Better Than Ohio’

Written By Matthew Bain on July 19, 2023
Damon Thayer says KY will run sports betting better than Ohio

Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer, who was instrumental in getting sports betting legalized in Kentucky this year, took a shot at Ohio on Wednesday during a presentation to the Kentucky Interim Joint Committee Appropriations and Revenue.

Specifically, regarding if there will be enough KY sports betting compliance staff to avoid some of the issues seen in Ohio since it launched sports betting in January, Thayer said this:

“We’re going to do things better than Ohio. We usually do. So I have no doubt in this case that’s going to happen.”

Recent issues in Ohio

Ohio faced gambling regulation issues just days after launching its industry.

It fined FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars $150,000 each for repeated violations of regulations regarding sports betting advertisements. Ohio commissioners told sportsbooks they were “deeply disappointed with the very rocky start” to the launch.

More recently, two members of the University of Cincinnati baseball team staff were fired and its head coach resigned after the program was embroiled in the college sports betting scandal related to college baseball games played at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

Did an Ohio official throw shade at Kentucky first?

Thayer wasn’t the first Kentucky or Ohio official to throw shade at the other regarding sports betting.

In June, Ohio Casino Control Commission Executive Director Matt Schuler publicly lamented the fact that 18-year-olds in Ohio could soon cross the border into Kentucky to place legal sports bets.

“I absolutely hate the idea that individuals under 21 can go across the border, open an account and bet,” Schuler told local media in Cincinnati. “I think it’s horrible.

“The age group this is most at risk of developing a gambling problem are males 18 to 35. The younger ones are most vulnerable as they’re not at the age yet where they can thoroughly process the consequences of their actions. Not my opinion. Scientific fact.”

In a recent PlayKentucky survey, 71% of Kentuckian respondents said they preferred the state’s legal sports betting age to be 21, not 18. Kentucky will be the largest 18-and-over sports betting jurisdiction in the US when it launches this September.

Photo by AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
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Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain started as a Content Manager for PlayKentucky and other Catena Media sites in 2022. He covered the launch of Massachusetts sports betting and the Prop 26 vs. Prop 27 battle in California. Before that, he spent six years as a sports reporter and then deputy sports editor for the Des Moines Register, during which time he won nine statewide journalism awards, including the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists Award. As deputy sports editor, Matthew oversaw the Register's recruiting coverage while also innovating the outlet's high school sports coverage. Matthew graduated from San Diego State and grew up in California, but he's somehow a Boston Celtics fan. Long story.

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