It’s official. Kentucky sports betting has been legalized. The Senate passed HB 551 by a 25-15 vote, and Gov. Andy Beshear signed it into law. With this measure, Kentucky could become the first new market to launch in 2023. While previous efforts failed, lawmakers were finally able to regulate the local market.
Kentucky Sportsbooks Incoming
The measure will see the launch of both retail and online sportsbooks in Kentucky. Online operators will be taxed 14.25% on revenue while retail sportsbooks will see a 9.75% tax. Bettors will need to be at least 21 years old in order to wager at sportsbooks. The market will be overseen by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC).
There are nine local horse racetracks in Kentucky. Regulations allow each track to host a maximum of three mobile sports betting skins. This will see up to 27 online operator licenses available in the Bluegrass State.
There will be a $500,000 initial licensing fee for racetracks with a $50,000 annual fee following. Online operators will see a $50,000 licensing fee and $10,000 annually. Approximately $23 million in annual revenue is estimated for the state.
Lawmakers will iron out the final details of the regulations, including determining a launch date and issuing sports betting applications. The coming months will see Kentucky legislators working towards bringing the market to fruition.
When Will Sports Betting Launch?
While there is not yet a timeline for the launch, locals can expect the market before the end of the year. Looking at the launch of other markets, the NFL season is usually a target for lawmakers and regulators. The NFL is the most wagered-on sporting league in the U.S. Launching ahead of or during the season is a great way to kickstart momentum for a new market.
Kentucky will want to launch its market as soon as possible due to its surrounding competition. Kentucky borders six markets in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee that all host sports betting. The Bluegrass State does not want to go another NFL season with potential revenue crossing the border to wager.
Fans can expect to see a fast regulatory process for lawmakers as they race to be live in time for the 2023 season.