Kentucky‘s regulatory authorities are currently reviewing applications from seven online sportsbook operators. They are also considering applications for in-person wagering from the state’s seven horse racetracks.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is set to make decisions on these license applications later this month. As a result, residents could potentially place in-person bets in time for the start of the NFL season.
Kentucky: The applicants
The lineup of applicants was recently unveiled, prompting praise from officials for the burgeoning industry’s prospects. Governor Andy Beshear (D) stated, “The countdown is on. Kentuckians can plan to place their first sports wagers, at a retail location, in just 28 days.” The governor emphasized that embracing sports wagering not only brings a new form of entertainment but also pumps revenue into the state, which can be channeled into crucial projects like education, economic development, disaster recovery, and environmental improvements.
The enthusiastic participation of licensed racetracks is evident, as every single one in the state has thrown their name into the hat for brick-and-mortar sports betting. The list includes prominent venues like Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ellis Park in Henderson, Oak Grove Gaming and Racing in Oak Grove, The Red Mile in Lexington, and Turfway Park in Florence. Two soon-to-open racetracks, Cumberland Run in Corbin and Sandy’s Gaming and Racing in Ashland, are also eagerly seeking licenses.
In the realm of mobile sports wagering, seven notable companies have sought approval: Bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, Circa, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Penn Sports Interactive. These applications, if granted, will open the door for these companies to operate and engage with Kentucky’s enthusiastic betting community.
In the pipeline, BetMGM has announced a strategic partnership with Sandy’s Gaming and Racing for a retail location. This collaboration aims to introduce a 5,200-square-foot retail BetMGM Sportsbook later this year, offering a dynamic space for bettors to engage with their passion.
The decisions are near
The decision-making process will culminate in a crucial meeting on August 22, where the KHRC will deliberate and vote on these applications. The commission is committed to ensuring that sports wagering rolls out smoothly while prioritizing wagering integrity and safeguarding the interests of bettors across Kentucky.
Mark your calendars, as starting from September 7, coinciding with the NFL regular season’s commencement, in-person sports betting is set to become a reality. As the excitement builds, online wagers are slated to become available by September 28, promising a dynamic and interactive betting landscape.
Projections indicate that the introduction of sports wagering could potentially generate around $23 million in annual revenue for the state. Notably, 2.5% of this revenue will be allocated to a newly established problem gambling fund, signaling a responsible approach to fostering a safe betting environment.
As the industry continues to evolve, mobile sportsbooks will operate under a tax rate of 14.25%, while in-person wagers will be subject to a tax rate of 9.75%. Additionally, sportsbook licensees will be required to provide an upfront fee of $500,000, further contributing to state revenues.
In essence, the stage is set for Kentucky to enter the realm of sports wagering, with a diverse array of operators eager to engage with the state’s enthusiastic betting community. The KHRC’s commitment to transparency, integrity, and bettor protection is expected to shape a vibrant and responsible betting landscape.
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