Sports betting is officially coming to Kentucky.
A bill to legalize sports wagering in the state, HB 551, passed through Senate chambers Thursday evening, and Gov. Andy Beshear wasted no time signing it into law. Beshear held a press conference Friday to sign the bill, as well as one related to medical marijuana, while discussing the potential impact on the state.
“We talk about having a competitive business climate, but we were not allowing an important business that every state around us has. … Our dollars were supporting Indiana, West Virginia, Ohio and other states,” Beshear said Friday. “But now, after years of urging action, sports betting is finally going to be legal in Kentucky. We made it happen.”
Sportsbooks tethered to tracks
The legislation means Kentuckians could have access to up to 27 mobile sportsbooks, and each operator will be partnered with one of the state’s nine horse racing tracks. In-person betting is allowed under the legislation, and each of the nine tracks can have a retail sportsbook.
Kentuckians will soon be able to place their bets here, and for the first time, we are going to keep those dollars to support our roads and bridges, schools and communities. ^ AB 2/2
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) March 30, 2023
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will serve as the state’s sports betting regulator, and adjusted gross revenue will be taxed at 14.25%. In good news for die-hard fans of the Kentucky Wildcats, wagering on college sports will be allowed. Bettors will also be able to wager on professional sports, the Olympics, and esports.
Unlike most other states, which have an age minimum of 21 to bet on sports, customers only need to be 18 to place a wager in Kentucky.
“Kentuckians will soon be able to place their bets right here in the Commonwealth, and for the first time, those dollars are going to help support rebuilding our bridges, repaving our roads, funding our education system, and improving our communities,” Beshear said. “We are doing what is right — not just to keep dollars in our state, but to keep our red-hot economy on fire.”
Beshear and primary bill sponsor Rep. Michael Meredith made sure to thank former Rep. Adam Koenig at Friday’s press conference. Koenig made several pushes in recent years to legalize sports wagering in the state.
“This was really a team effort,” Meredith said.