Kentucky Online Sports Betting

Lawmakers attempted to legalize Kentucky sports betting in 2020, but those efforts fell short at the wrong time. There appeared to be plenty of support to create a new sports betting bill, but that was not the case.

Another attempt will be made in 2021, but it is starting to feel like sometime in 2022 is the most realistic date for KY sports betting to become a real possibility. Lawmakers in the state meet for just 30 days in 2021, and that might not provide enough time to get a bill passed.

Governor Andy Beshear has supported legalizing sports betting as a way to bring in new revenue for the state. Kentucky doesn’t have any commercial casinos currently in operation, but the state is filled with horse racing tracks

Kentucky Online Sportsbooks
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Kentucky Sportsbooks

Without any commercial casinos in the state of Kentucky, all of the KY sportsbooks would be tied to the horse racing tracks or the Kentucky Speedway. Other states have used similar strategies by allowing racetracks to offer retail sports betting.

Kentucky online sports betting was also included in the previous bills, and that is expected to be included in any new law. The previous bill also stated that in-person registration would be required for 18 months until remote registration was allowed.

If that is the case when KY sports betting launches, then bettors will need to visit a racetrack before they are able to complete the signup process. This could be one of the parts of the bill that is amended in 2021. 

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KY Sports Betting Rules

Without having an official KY sports betting law in place, it is impossible to know what betting markets will be available. Kentucky is not a state with a strong professional sports presence, and so it is likely that college sports betting will be included in any law. 

Esports has become extremely popular in 2020, and many states have now legalized betting on esports. Kentucky lawmakers will have to make any final decision on esports before a new law is passed. 

KY Sports Betting Regulations

Representative Adam Koenig introduced H 137 in 2020, and that bill was able to generate plenty of support. Ultimately, H 137 was sent back to the committee last spring, and it never made it to the House floor for a final vote.

KY sports betting was tied to a large gambling expansion package that the governor was hoping to include into his budget projections. Now that the large bill has been blocked, lawmakers are expected to focus on sports betting first.

According to the most recent bill, land-based sports betting would be taxed at a rate of 10.25%, and KY online sports betting would be taxed at a rate of 14.25%. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission currently regulates gambling in the state, and that group would likely be put in charge of overseeing sports betting. 

There will still be some work to do in 2021, but a number of important regulations have already been established. 

Summary

Kentucky sports betting was expected to become legal in 2020, but another attempt will be made in 2021. There is already a bill ready to be introduced, and it will likely use the same framework as the previous bill.

There are a number of other issues facing Kentucky lawmakers at this time, and the entire gaming industry is being challenged in the KY supreme court. Kentucky is a state that will likely see sports betting soon, but it’s unclear when this will happen. 

The Midwest portion of the United States has seen tremendous sports betting growth since 2019, and Kentucky is falling behind by not being able to get a bill passed.

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