KHRC to Discuss Kentucky Sports Betting Rules at Special Monday Meeting

KHRC to Discuss Kentucky Sports Betting Rules at Special Monday Meeting
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced Thursday it will hold a meeting Monday in which it plans to discuss and likely pass rules for Kentucky sports betting.

The meeting is scheduled for 12:15 pm ET at Red Mile Racing & Gaming in Lexington. It comes less than three weeks after KHRC Chairman Jonathan Rabinowitz said at the commission’s June 20 meeting that the regulatory body would likely meet early this month to review and approve regulations for sports wagering, which was made legal in Kentucky thanks to the General Assembly passing House Bill 551 in March.

HB 551 officially took effect last week, opening a six-month window for the commission to set up the rules and administrative structure to allow licensed operators to set up shop in the Bluegrass State. The law allows for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at the state’s racetracks and satellite historical horse racing parlors, and each track will be able to partner with up to three online operators – meaning Kentucky could have as many as 27 online apps available in the state.

However, state officials – led by Gov. Andy Beshear – have said they want operators to be live in Kentucky by the start of the NFL season, which is now two months away. To meet that goal, commission staffers have met with regulators from five other states, consulting firms and other stakeholders to launch as quickly as possible.

It’s still uncertain if that means both online and brick-and-mortar or a possible universal launch like what occurred in Ohio.

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Rules Needed to Start Application Process

As previously reported, the KHRC plans to adopt both emergency regulations and permanent rules. The emergency regs will take effect after Beshear signs them and sends them to the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission.

Once the emergency regs take effect, the state can accept license applications from the tracks and their Kentucky sportsbook app partners.

HB 551 also allows the KHRC to approve temporary licenses if officials believe the information they receive shows applicants’ suitability.

The tracks will pay $500,000 for their licenses and $50,000 annually to renew. Operators would pay a $50,000 application fee and $10,000 annually to renew.

Kentucky’s tax structure will be similar to New Jersey’s, with brick-and-mortar books taxed at 9.75% and online apps taxed at 14.25%. Most of the tax revenue will help pay down the state’s public pension liabilities. However, the law also requires 2.5% of the tax revenue to fund Kentucky’s first problem gambling assistance fund.

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What Sports Betting Operators Will Launch in Kentucky?

Once the licensing application window opens, we’ll likely begin hearing more about the operators interested in Kentucky and the tracks with whom they’ll partner.

Only one sportsbook has announced its intentions so far. Caesars Sportsbook has agreed to partner with Red Mile and Keeneland. While Kentucky’s law allows 18-year-olds to wager, Caesars has already said it will only accept bets, if approved for a license, from bettors 21 and up.

Kentucky FanDuel Sportsbook and Churchill Downs have also said they will partner with each other, but neither side has released any information about the extent of that partnership.

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Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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