A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Gov. Bevin says decision on sports gambling falls to legislature, applauds ‘state’s rights’ victory

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Gov. Matt Bevin said Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on sports gambling goes well beyond that, and affirmed the larger issue of state’s rights, under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. 

Speaking to reporters in Frankfort, Bevin said states now have the sovereignty that many have long known they had. 


“There were many states that were party to that suit, including this one, simply because it was a question not so much about betting, but of whether or not the federal government has the right to pick winners and losers among states; and that one state has sovereignty to do something and another state does not.”

Gov. Matt Bevin (Kentucky Today/Tom Latek)


Whether this ultimately results in any change for Kentucky will be in the hands of state lawmakers, the governor said. 


“It’s way too premature to determine. Sports betting has happened since the dawn of time. We just came off celebrating a weekend in happened at a pretty prolific rate here in Kentucky,” he said, referring to the Kentucky Derby. “Certainly, this state and others have the ability to look at what options are available.”


When asked if he backed legalizing sports betting in Kentucky, Bevin said, “I’m not leading the charge on any of this. I think it’s best to study what is available to us, what now is an option, what it looks like relative to not only what we might do, but what other states are doing. Let’s thoughtfully approach this.”


Bevin described himself as “agnostic” with respect to any initial piece of policy, with some exceptions.


“I’m a strong proponent of defending human life from beginning to end,” he said.  “I truly am opposed to casino gaming in this state.  There are certain things where I’ve been very clear.  I’m very much opposed to recreational use of marijuana being legalized, but very much supportive of the idea of it being used for medical purposes.”


Bevin also reiterated the issue was not so much about sports gambling as it was on states’ rights and the 10th Amendment.  

“Regardless of what one thinks about the issue that drove this, the determination was much broader than that one issue.  This was just the catalyst to determine whether the sovereignty of a state is still as valid in the 21st century as it was in the 18th century.  And the answer is yes.”   

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