Gov. Beshear: Kentuckians Can Start Betting on Sports in Less Than 60 Days
Retail locations open Sept. 7, followed by mobile applications Sept. 28
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 10, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and lawmakers to announce that Kentuckians can make their first-ever sports bets in Kentucky in less than 60 days.
The announcement followed the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission meeting, where members unanimously approved emergency administrative regulations that will govern sports wagering. The Governor then immediately signed the regulations at the Red Mile, a gaming and racing venue that is eligible to apply to be a sports betting location. To see the other facilities eligible to apply, click here.
Retail locations are set to open Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, just in time for the NFL kick-off, tailgating and the college football season, followed by mobile applications Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023.
“This is a historic day for our commonwealth – sports wagering will open for the first time in Kentucky in less than 60 days,” said Gov. Beshear. “Bringing sports wagering to the state not only gives Kentuckians a much-anticipated new form of entertainment, but also brings money to the state to support pensions, freeing up money that can be used to build a better Kentucky through the funding of education, economic development, disaster recovery and other necessary projects, like providing cleaner water, building roads and high-speed internet.”
After years of pushing to get sports betting passed, on March 31, 2023, Gov. Beshear signed bipartisan legislation – House Bill 551 – legalizing sports wagering in Kentucky. Since then, the commission has met with representatives in states that have recently launched sports wagering, as well as industry experts, to learn from best practices and shared experiences. Kentucky chose a tiered implementation date, which was used in multiple states and allows for testing of policy and procedure before the full rollout that will include mobile applications.
“We have worked hard to deliver sports wagering to Kentuckians with regulations designed to protect bettors,” said Public Protection Cabinet Secretary Ray Perry. “Kentuckians can be sure that their bets are safe, their money is protected and there is effective oversight and enforcement if the law is not followed.”
“The conversations we had with regulators and industry experts laid the groundwork for these clear and responsible regulations,” said Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Chairman Jonathan Rabinowitz. “The commission has a long history of pari-mutuel wagering integrity and is uniquely positioned to protect Kentucky bettors. Wagering integrity was the top priority of these regulations. We also considered the importance of flexibility to meet the changing demands of the industry.”
In May, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced that it was hiring additional staff to prepare for the sports wagering launch. The commission is in the process of filling 14 new positions. Job titles range from management to auditing and compliance. Many positions have been filled, including the director of sports wagering, with others still progressing through the hiring process.
“Our wagering compliance team is experienced and well-suited to lead this new area of wagering,” said Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Executive Director Jamie Eads. “Our next step is to open licensing and start reviewing applications.”
Starting Tuesday, July 11, each of Kentucky’s licensed horseracing facilities can apply for a retail sportsbook at their main location or at a licensed satellite location. The state anticipates that each facility will open a retail location, and many will be ready to launch Sept. 7.
Each licensed facility will also be permitted to partner with up to three marketing platforms for mobile wagering, to be launched Sept. 28.
Today’s regulations were signed as emergency regulations which allows them to take effect immediately after being filed with the Legislative Research Commission. An ordinary regulation was filed at the same time, which includes a period of public comment and legislative review.