Kentucky has now joined the growing list of states where sports betting is legal. House Bill 551 was passed, just weeks after being introduced, by a Senate vote of 25.
How Sports Betting Will Work in Kentucky
HB551 will permit the nine racetracks in Kentucky to partner with online betting operators. The initial license fee will be $500,00 for tracks and $50,000 for operators while annual renewals will cost $50,000 for tracks and $10,000 for operators.
“It’s going to be very similar to other states where you will have an app, and that service provider will have their own application. So, when you are wagering on your phone or on your app, you’re probably not even going to be aware that the track has a license that oversees all of that” – Rep. Al Gentry, who co-sponsored the bill.
Tax rates will also differ depending on the type of sportsbook. Retail (or land-based) sportsbooks will be required to pay a 9.75% tax on their revenue while online operators will pay a 14.25% tax.
It is estimated that Kentucky sports betting operators will garner $2 billion in wagers per year, which will generate $23 million in tax revenue for the state. These funds will be spent on problem gambling programs and pensions.
Racetracks Thrilled To Launch Sportsbooks
Kentucky’s racetracks are pretty iconic, with historic premises that have been around since the 1800s. With deep roots in the American betting industry, racetrack owners in Kentucky are excited to bring their venues into the 21st Century by launching their own online sportsbooks.
“All of our (historical horse racing) facilities throughout the state were designed with this possibility in mind and will be ready to offer sports betting under the regulations and timing of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.” – a statement from Churchill Downs, which originally opened in 1875.
When Will Kentucky Sports Betting Launch?
While Kentucky sports betting has just been made legal, it will be quite some time before local residents will be able to place bets on their favorite sports teams. It is predicted that the end of 2023 or the start of 2024 will see the first sportsbooks launch.
Most states that have legalized sports betting aim to have sportsbooks up and running by the time the Super Bowl rolls around. So, I’m anticipating a launch date of either January or February 2023.