By Victoria Harris —

Ekstrom Library’s Chao Auditorium hosted an informational panel on the incorporation of sports betting into the horse racing industry Nov. 13, courtesy of the Equine Studies program. This was the last of a three-part speaker series at the University of Louisville.

The panel included three guest speakers: Bill Knauf, the vice president of business operations at Monmouth Park Racetrack, John Walsh, the assistant general manager at Hawthorne Race Course, and Rep. Adam Koenig (R-69). In 2020, Koenig plans on introducing a new bill to the Kentucky House of Representatives regarding the issue.

Mark Midland, co-founder and CEO of Horse Racing Nation, moderated the session. Horse Racing Nation is a website dedicated to covering Thoroughbred racing in the United States.

Currently, sports betting is not allowed in Kentucky, and gambling is restricted to pari-mutuel wagering on horses, state lotteries and charity gambling. In spite of this, many racetracks are looking to expand into broader sports betting to appeal to a younger and wider audience.

Few states have legalized sports betting, but there are many pending pieces of legislation that would allow it. 

Sports betting could greatly increase revenue for a state; however, many are concerned with moral drawbacks and potential for addiction. To combat this, many legislators are including a clause within their bills which requires a certain percentage of money to be donated to addiction centers.

In addition, many places that host gambling have self-exclusion lists. If a person is aware they are addicted to gambling, they can fill out a form that will add their name and picture to a database. Once on this list, if they attempt to enter a gambling house within the zone covered by their self-exclusion list, they can be arrested for trespassing. If a person wants to lift their self-imposed ban, often times they must complete at least 5 years of their ban before coming under review. 

Students who wish to pursue a career in the equine industry can study it at U of L. U of L is the only accredited college in the world that offers an equine degree.

Photo By Matthew Keck // The Louisville Cardinal