FRANKFORT, KY (September 27, 2023) — Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, has been jointly named the recipient of the American Gambling Awards’ Policymaker of the Year Award alongside Rep. Michael Meredith for their instrumental roles in the enactment of sports betting legislation, House Bill 551.

“It’s a true honor to be a recipient of this national award and to share in the historic moment of legal sports betting in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Thayer said. “I recently joined Rep. Meredith for a community celebration with our fellow Kentuckians at Red Mile Gaming and Racing in Lexington. I consider myself fortunate for the opportunity to have played a role in giving the people of Kentucky something they have long asked for.”

Thayer and Meredith will be formally presented with the Golden Eagle Award in New York on November 16. 

As Senate Majority Floor Leader, Thayer is prominent in shepherding bills through the legislative process. For several sessions, sports betting could not get across the finish line. Thayer, advocating for less government and more freedom, successfully championed the final passage of House Bill 551 in the 2023 Legislative Session. Meredith was the legislation’s primary sponsor.

“Both Senator Thayer and Representative Meredith have been prominent advocates for legal, regulated and safe gaming in Kentucky, and with sports betting now live, are very deserving of jointly receiving the Policymaker of the Year award,” Charles Gillespie, chief executive officer of Group said in a release via BusinessWire. “With great leadership like Senator Thayer and Representative Meredith spearheading the effort, Kentucky will no doubt be a leader in how proper online gambling regulation should look in the United States.” Group, a leading provider of player acquisition services for the regulated global online gambling industry, is a multi-award-winning provider of digital marketing services for the global, regulated online gambling industry. The group publishes informational portals that compare and review regulated online gambling websites worldwide. Gambling.comGroup is a media company that does not offer actual gambling services but helps online sportsbooks and casino operators acquire players.

Expert judges with United States-specific online gambling industry experience evaluated the nominations for the award. Judges include Amy Howe, CEO of Fan Duel, which recently partnered with Churchill Downs, Inc.; Jason Robins, CEO of Draft Kings, which recently announced a market entry deal with Mint Gaming/Cumberland Run owner ECL Entertainment and Adam Greenblatt, CEO of BetMGM, which has partnered with Revolutionary Racing Kentucky and will have a retail book at Sandy’s Racing and Gaming. Find a full list of judges at THIS LINK.

Visit THIS LINK to find the organization’s press release, and CLICK HERE to view the list of award winners. Visit for more details about Senator Damon Thayer.

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