Kentucky Sports Betting Regulations Advance Toward September Launch

Written By

Updated on

Kentucky sports betting

Kentucky regulators took a big step forward Monday toward meeting their September goal for a sports betting launch.

At a special meeting Monday, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved emergency and ordinary regulations for KY sports betting. The emergency rules are effective as soon as they are filed with the Legislative Review Commission, which KHRC General Counsel Jennifer Wolsing said also would be Monday.

The commission set a goal for in-person sports betting to begin Sept. 7. Online sports betting would is slated to launch Sept. 28. Since Gov. Andy Beshear signed sports betting into law March 31, the ambition has been in place to open for NFL betting.

“Kentuckians may make their first ever sports bet in Kentucky 59 days from now,” Beshear said after signing the emergency regulations Monday.

Key steps remaining in Kentucky

Once filed with the LRC, the ordinary regulations will go through a public notice and comment period. The comment period could lead to some technical amendments, according to Wolsing. 

With that in mind, the regulations are split into licensing and technical regulations, which will allow the application period to begin. The state’s nine horse racing tracks can begin applying for licenses Tuesday, according to Beshear’s comments Monday.

Commissioners also noted responsible gaming regulations, including restrictions on false and misleading advertising practices, will be within the technical regulations. The KHRC is also in the midst of hiring 14 positions to help get sports betting off the ground.

Quick turnaround not uncommon

The speedy turnaround from a March 31 bill signing to Sept. 7 sportsbook opening could appear fast. But multiple states have flipped the switch just as quickly. 

In 2021, Arizona sports betting went from Gov. Doug Ducey’s signature in April 2021 to a September 9, 2021 debut.

Last year, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed sports betting into law May 12, 2022, with sportsbooks taking bets by September 1, 2022.

How Kentucky sports betting regulations developed

Kentucky legislators set up the framework to allow the state’s tracks to hold operator licenses.

Those operators can partner with up to three sports betting service providers each, for a total of up to 27 online sportsbooks. Churchill Downs Inc. already announced a partnership with FanDuel.

Caesars gained access through Red Mile Gaming & Racing and Keeneland. The nine tracks can also open in-person sportsbooks. 

Plenty of input for KY sports betting

Last month, KHRC Chairman Jonathan Rabinowitz said the commission met with industry stakeholders, as well as regulators from five jurisdictions. Those states include mature markets like New Jersey, and newer additions like Ohio and Massachusetts.

The commission accepted input from industry stakeholders. The KHRC also retained Gaming Labs International (GLI) for consulting services.

During his comments, Beshear said Kentucky regulators are not reinventing, the wheel when it comes to sports betting. However, he also hopes the KHRC will continue to adapt rules to make it an attractive market and keep money within state borders.