Signed and dated.
HB-551, the newly-approved Kentucky sports betting bill, didn’t sit on Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk too long as he officially signed it into law Friday morning.
The first-term Democratic governor has said repeatedly that he’d sign any wagering bills that were sent to him and he delivered on that promise.
The state Senate approved the bill by a 25-12 margin on Thursday evening.
Previous efforts to legalize sports betting in Kentucky had failed, but the Senate and House both got it through, with the Senate beating the deadline on the final day on Thursday.
Before the signing, Beshear said, "As virtually every state around us – whether they were Democrat- or Republican-led – have passed it. We talk about having a competitive business climate, but we were not allowing an important business that every state around us was. The fact is you can drive right across virtually every one of Kentucky's borders and you can place a bet and part of that bet then goes back to that other state to help pave their roads or fund their education system. Our dollars were supporting Indiana, West Virginia, Ohio and other states.
"But now after years of urging action, sports betting is finally going to be legal in Kentucky. We made it happen!"
Latest State To Legalize Sports Betting
The Bluegrass State will now join more than 30 others and the District of Columbia with some form of sports wagering. The Senate passed the measure a couple of weeks after the state House did so.
Neighboring states Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee all have sports wagering live and in operation.
HB-551 paves the way for all nine of the Bluegrass State’s horse racing tracks to offer online Kentucky sportsbook apps as well as retail wagering, with a 14.25% tax rate applied to online wagers and a 9.75% rate on retail bets.
The timetable is not set in stone; the most likely launch date would be very late in 2023 or, more likely, early in 2024. Every state that has legalized sports wagering has taken several months to a year to set up the regulatory framework needed for such an operation.
"Today's result shows that hard work pays off. 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. This industry will bring new jobs, tourism and growth and I'm proud today that I'm going to sign it into law and we are going to thank those that helped make this historic day possible and to many over the years that pushed so hard."
When the state’s operation goes live, check with BetKentucky for all of the best Kentucky sports betting promo codes available.