Kentucky sports betting to be legal in September with new rules – Courier Journal

Sports betting in Kentucky will start just in time for football season.
Gov. Andy Beshear approved regulations passed Monday by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission that will guide officials as they roll out wagering around the state. The legislature passed a measure legalizing sports betting this year.
The regulations approved this week will allow retail betting operations — in-person wagering at licensed locations — to begin Sept. 7. The rollout date for mobile operations, which allow betting from phones and other devices through apps such as FanDuel and DraftKings, is Sept. 28.
The deadlines are “ambitious” but reasonable, Beshear said at the signing Monday, estimating the state could land $23 million in additional revenue from betting in the first year alone. Retail sportsbooks will be taxed at 9.75% and online operations at 14.25%.
“The odds were against us, but we were determined to get sports betting passed in Kentucky, and we got it done,” Beshear said, touting bipartisan support that helped the measure pass. “… I want to see any freed-up dollars going to support public education, economic development, disaster recovery and other necessary projects.”
A representative from the The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, the agency in charge of putting the plan together, said the regulations over licensing and operations for those involved in the business and include steps to make sure children don’t wager, assure confidentiality, prevent money laundering and encourage responsible gaming.
State Rep. Michael Meredith, a Republican who co-sponsored the betting bill, said Kentucky’s regulations are similar to those in other parts of the country. But while some states (including Indiana) require bettors to be 21 or older to wager, Meredith said Kentucky officials set the bar at age 18 because that’s in line with other gambling rules in the state.
Meredith credited former state Rep. Adam Koenig for helping shepherd sports betting legislation through the General Assembly for years before House Bill 551 was approved in March. The Covington Republican had been a strong proponent before leaving office in 2022, watching as nearby states including Indiana and Illinois passed bills allowing the wagering after a federal ban in most states was struck down in 2018.
Koenig, who was on hand for the announcement, said he’s looking forward to September.
“It makes too much sense,” he said. “Most importantly, it’s less government for the people and more money for the taxpayers.”
Monday’s announcement came 59 days before betting is set to become legal, but those behind the effort have plenty of work to do this summer. The KHRC will begin accepting applications Tuesday from horse racing facilities around Kentucky that hope to open brick-and-mortar betting locations this fall.
In a statement, Churchill Downs applauded the move but did not say whether it expects to have wagering operations open by Sept. 7, noting the racetrack “continues to move forward with ongoing efforts to make sports wagering available at our established racing and gaming facilities throughout Kentucky, and we will share updates as plans are finalized.”
“We are excited for the opportunities sports betting brings for tourism and economic development across the Commonwealth and for the chance to welcome new guests into our entertainment venues to also wager on live and historical racing, which will further strengthen our state’s signature equine industry,” the statement said.
Red Mile, where Monday’s events took place, announced in May that it had partnered with Caesars Sportsbook to offer wagering once regulations were approved. The gaming and racing complex is home to more than 950 historical horse racing machines, which mimic slot machines and allow bettors to wager on replays of horse races.
Churchill Downs and Red Mile are two of 14 locations either currently open or under construction in Kentucky that will be eligible to offer sports betting. Others include Cumberland Run (Corbin), Derby City Gaming (two locations in Louisville), Ellis Park (Henderson and Owensboro), Keeneland (Lexington), Kentucky Downs (Franklin), the Mint Gaming Hall (Bowling Green), Newport Racing and Gaming (Newport), Oak Grove Gaming and Racing (Oak Grove), Sandy’s Gaming and Racing (Ashland) and Turfway Park (Florence).
Fans of local football teams won’t be able to bet from home by the start of the season, but they won’t have to wait long. The University of Louisville opens the season on Sept. 1 vs. Georgia Tech, while the University of Kentucky will take on Ball State on Sept. 2. But the new regulations will kick in just in time for the first NFL game of the 2023 season, on Sept. 7 between the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions.
But Beshear noted college sports fans in Kentucky should have plenty to look forward to in September. The Cardinals face Murray State on Sept. 7, and the Wildcats host Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 9.
“I’m confident that on Sept. 7 and then on Sept. 28 it’s going to work,” Beshear said. “It’s going to be a pretty seamless experience for those spending their entertainment dollars, but I do believe that there will be changes over time because we want the very best system that we can.”
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