Legal sportsbooks are expected to go live in Kentucky in September, it was announced at Monday’s Kentucky Horse Racing Commission meeting. Retail sportsbooks will be permitted to go live on Sept. 7, while mobile sportsbooks are expected to be given approval to launch on Sept. 28.
The NFL season begins on Sept. 7 when the Detroit Lions visit the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Fifty-nine days from now will be just in time for the NFL kickoff, tailgating, and for a large part of the college football season,” Gov. Andy Beshear said at a press conference immediately following the KHRC meeting. “Sept. 7 is the first regular-season game of the NFL. It’s also when Murray State plays Louisville, and it’s just a couple days before Kentucky plays EKU.”
Each of the state’s nine horse racing tracks will be able to have an in-person sportsbook, and each location will have access to up to three mobile skins, bringing up to 27 mobile sportsbooks to Kentucky. The commission expects to begin accepting retail applications on Tuesday.
Temporary regulations approved
The state taxes retail sports betting at 9.75% of adjusted gross revenue, while mobile sports betting is taxed at 14.25%. There’s a $500,000 licensing fee for racetracks and a $50,000 license fee for operators. Beshear estimates the state can bring in more than $20 million annually from sports betting tax revenue, a number he expects to grow over time.
Gov. Beshear didn’t stop by Monday’s meeting just for a press conference about launch dates and revenue projections, though. He also signed off on emergency sports betting regulations approved by the KHRC at Monday’s meeting.
The regulations weren’t immediately posted online, but there was some regulatory discussion at Monday’s meeting, including mention of rules aimed at curtailing false and misleading sports betting advertising. The commission also briefly discussed the importance of responsible gambling best practices, including a self-exclusion program. The KHRC is in the process of adding 14 positions to build out its staff to quickly work through the licensing and regulatory process this summer.
Emergency regulations are expected to be filed to the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, which will then solicit public comment. Those comments will be considered as the KHRC crafts permanent regulations.
Beshear noted that emergency regulations are needed for a speedy launch timeline, but part of the rule-making process means adjusting as the industry matures.
“I am confident that on Sept. 7 and then on Sept. 28, it’s gonna work,” Beshear said. “It’s gonna be a pretty seamless experience for those spending their entertainment dollars, but I do believe there will be changes over time because we want the very best system that we can.”