It was a short meeting for Kentucky sports betting officials who appeared before a legislative committee in Frankfort Wednesday afternoon.
Flanked by Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Executive Director Jamie Eads told the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue that the agency has already hired a couple of staff members and plans to bring about a dozen more by mid-August as the state gets ready for a Sept. 7 launch of brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at racetracks across the state.
One of the new hires is Hans Stokke, who joined as KHRC’s director of sports wagering.
Eads and Thayer assuaged Sen. Chris McDaniel, the Ryland Heights Republican who chairs the Senate A&R Committee, that the commission will not need up to 100 staffers to handle sports betting. That was a number McDaniel said he had heard in some conversations.
Eads also said that the money coming in from the track licenses will help cover costs and that some of the new auditors coming in will be working in other gaming areas, including live racing and historical horse racing.
“We are eager and ready to begin taking wagers on Sept. 7 at our retail locations and Sept. 28 online,” she said.
There’s a potential KHRC may need to add another 10 staff members or so as sports betting grows, Eads added.
Thayer: Kentucky ‘Going To Do Things Better Than Ohio’
McDaniel also raised concerns about an incident earlier this year at the BetMGM Sportsbook in Cincinnati, where an individual reportedly attempted to wager $100,000 or more on a college baseball game in which he received inside information. Investigations into that have led to the firing of Alabama’s baseball coach and departures in the University of Cincinnati baseball program.
“I want to make sure that the integrity of all this is right, and I want to make sure you got the money to know where the money is coming from (and) to get you off the ground properly,” McDaniel said. “And make sure that you’re confident there.”
Thayer chimed in that Ohio has professional sports teams and casinos that Kentucky doesn’t have and that the state also has a much larger market than the Bluegrass State. Thayer then gave Eads and her staff a vote of confidence.
“We’re going to do things better than Ohio,” he told his colleagues. “We usually do. So, I have no doubt in this case that that’s going to happen.”
Thayer then doubled down on those comments in speaking with BetKentucky after the meeting, referring to comments Ohio Casino Control Commission Executive Director Matt Schuler made to a Cincinnati TV station critical about Kentucky setting the sports betting minimum age at 18.
“There’s been some stirring up there,” Thayer said. “Apparently, the Ohio executive director seems to be overly concerned with us taking customers for him, and he probably should be. But he should mind his own business and not tell us how to run things in Kentucky. We’re not Ohio. We do things our way.”
What Sports Betting Operators Are Talking To Kentucky
Kentucky’s sports betting regulations have been up for a week and a half. While the KHRC has been open to accepting applications since then, Eads told BetKentucky that no track has applied yet. That could change, though, by the end of the week.
Eads told lawmakers that eight or nine tracks may apply for a $500,000 license.
Once tracks have submitted their applications, operators are expected to follow suit.
Kentucky sportsbook apps are coming to the Bluegrass State.
Visit BetKentucky regularly for the latest Kentucky sports betting news and the soon-to-be-released Kentucky sportsbook promo codes.