Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date





During the 2022 meeting of the Kentucky General Assembly, gambling interests in the state had both triumphs and setbacks. An attempt to raise taxes on revenues earned by specialty slot machines (historical horse racing machines, or HHR machines) was turned back, yet an attempt to legalize sports gambling on sports such as the NFL, NBA, NCAA, etc., was also turned back. Lotteries, charitable gaming, and pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing have been legal in the state for some time, and HHR machines were made fully legal after state laws were re-written in 2021 to have them comply with the state constitution. Proponents of allowing more gaming in the Commonwealth of Kentucky have often pointed to anti-gambling forces in the legislature who usually consist of rural legislators who have suspicions about the impacts of more legal gambling forms on the public. Some of these suspicions are claimed to be fueled by fundamentalist religious or moral beliefs and concerns that poorer constituents will spend too much money on gambling if too many gambling venues and forms are allowed. Whether rural constituents support or oppose expanding gaming is a question explored in this research note as well as other social, demographic, and cognitive factors that could explain attitudes toward expanded gaming by Kentuckians. The findings of this note yield some interesting policy conclusions.