Gov. Beshear?Hopes Kentucky Sportsbooks Launch Before NFL Season?

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on April 10, 2023
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear Hopes Legal sports betting by NFL Season

Governor Andy Beshear promised a quicker push to get sports betting in Kentucky started. Beshear said on Friday that, if possible, he’d like to see legal sportsbooks launch in time for the upcoming NFL season.

According to Fox56, Beshear said at the weekly news conference:

“The people are really excited about this, so we want to get it up and going as quickly as we can but also to do it right.”

The news comes days after the Kentucky Senate passed sports betting legislation (HB 551) on Thursday by a 25-12 vote. Beshear signed the bill as soon as it reached his desk.

Governor candidate talks about legal sports betting in Kentucky

The formal sports betting launch in Kentucky will get statewide attention. Especially because Beshear’s supporters would see it as a big win for the governor, who advocated for legal sportsbooks for years.

As the Democratic governor discussed the timeframe for the legal sports betting launch, a Republican Alan Keck revealed his plans too. Keck, also the mayor of Somerset, is among the candidates competing to challenge Beshear in this year’s fall campaign for governor.

While presenting his plan on social media, Keck said he would redirect most of the tax money collected from the bets to school safety.

Whoever wins the next election will, at some point, witness the launch of both retail and online sportsbooks in Kentucky.

How much money could come from Kentucky sports betting?

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) would oversee the sports betting market. The new law will allow Kentucky’s horse racing tracks to be licensed as sports betting facilities for a $500,000 upfront fee. An annual renewal would cost $50,000.

Online operators will pay a 14.25% state tax on revenue, while retail betting venues will be taxed at 9.75%.

Additionally, online operators will pay a $50,000 licensing fee and $10,000 every year. That said, sports betting in Kentucky could generate about $23 million in annual revenue.

Kentucky doesn’t want to go another NFL season with its players crossing the border to place legal bets. The state borders six markets that all allow sports betting, these are:

  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Ohio
  • West Virginia
  • Virginia
  • Tennessee

When can sports betting fans expect to place legal bets?

Players in the Bluegrass State could see Kentucky legal sportsbooks launch by the end of 2023 or the start of 2024.

Beshear didn’t specify dates for launching sports betting in the state. But he mentioned the start of the NFL season when talking about the Kentucky sports betting timetable. The governor told Fox56:

“I would really like to have it ahead of that first NFL game, knowing that that is a big starting date for people.”

The NFL’s regular season begins in early September. Although the fall of 2023 may be too ambitious for Kentucky to launch its legal sports betting, it’s not entirely impossible.

The effective date would be 90 days after the attorney general enacts the legislation. Even though Beshear has signed the bill, the attorney general still must make that date official.

The law gives the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission six months after the effective date to set up the framework to regulate sports betting.

Photo by Timothy D. Easley, File / AP Photo
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for Playin USA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario?s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master?s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside wo rking hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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