In a parliament decision, Kentucky is set to open the doors to legal sports betting this September. Governor Andy Beshear, together with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and state lawmakers, have agreed upon the dates for the roll-out of both retail and online sports betting. On September 7, legal retail sports betting will be available in the Bluegrass State, just in time for the start of the 2023 NFL and collegiate football seasons. This will be followed by the launch of online wagering on September 28.
House Bill 551: The Path to Legalization
Governor Beshear officially legalized betting by endorsing House Bill 551 in April.
Under this legislation, nine racetracks will be eligible to provide on-site retail sports betting, and each will have the chance to collaborate with up to three online operators.
This implies the potential for the KHRC to grant up to 27 licenses.
A two-tier taxation system is outlined in the bill, with online operators facing a 14.25% tax on gross gambling revenue and retail establishments having a 9.75% rate. Licensing fees are set at $500,000 for racetracks and $50,000 for online operators seeking partnership with a track.
Guaranteeing Safety and Compliance: A Duty to Bettors
The KHRC, supported by Governor Beshear, has put in place emergency administrative regulations to oversee sports betting and ensure the protection of bettors and their investments.
This commitment to safety and integrity was affirmed by Public Protection Cabinet Secretary Ray Perry, stating that “Kentuckians can be sure that their bets are safe, their money is protected, and there is effective oversight and enforcement if the law is not followed.” Additionally, KHRC Chairman Jonathan Rabinowitz has emphasized their focus on upholding betting integrity while keeping an eye on industry changes and demands.
The KHRC has been busy preparing for the official start of sports betting in Kentucky. To facilitate a smooth launch, the commission has been hiring for 14 new roles, from management positions to auditing and compliance.
Moreover, the licensing process has been initiated, allowing licensed horse racing facilities to apply for retail sportsbook permits. It is expected that many of these facilities will be ready to open their doors to bettors on September 7.
Implications for the iGaming Industry
Kentucky’s move to legalize sports betting represents a significant milestone for the state and the broader iGaming industry. Here are three possible implications:
- Expansion of the Market: The entrance of Kentucky into the sports betting scene could inspire other states to take similar steps, potentially expanding the overall U.S. betting market.
- Setting Regulatory Standards: The rigorous regulations and safety measures put in place by Kentucky could establish a precedent for other regions considering legalizing sports betting in a safe way, which includes responsible gambling in the decision making.
- Stimulating Technological Innovations: The integration of online operators might spur technological advancements and inspire novel business models in the iGaming sector.
In conclusion, as Kentucky readies itself to enter the world of legal sports betting, this landmark event signifies a promising new chapter for the state and the iGaming industry. The unfolding landscape, marked by potential growth and opportunities, certainly brings an air of anticipation and excitement.