Sports betting is legal in Kentucky: What you need to know?

Sports betting is legal in Kentucky: What you need to know?
Published: Apr. 1, 2023 at 10:15 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 1, 2023 at 10:51 PM CDT
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KENTUCKY (WFIE) - Before House Bill 551 was signed into law on Friday, the only betting allowed in Kentucky was reserved for horse racing, online lottery, skill games and daily fantasy sports.

Kentuckians who used to travel between states to bet on sports will now have it available at their fingertips.

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“People are used to coming, so we expect sports will have that, obviously the mobile part of sports is big,” said John Wholihan, Director of Marketing for Mint Gaming Hall.

House Bill 551 added Kentucky to the list of states where sports betting is now legal.

“They have the horse race betting in place, and it’s just dividing that up, getting some tweaks done to get the sports in there,” Wholihan said.

Wholihan says the law provided them the green light to get to work on adding in sports betting to their three locations in the Commonwealth.

“Number one step will be to get a partner, someone who’s professional in sports betting, and take advantage of their brand name,” Wholihan said.

By the numbers, state officials estimate the new law will bring in $20 million in licensing fees and taxes each year. For comparison, Indiana has seen over $10 billion in bets placed since sports betting became legal in 2019.

The bill outlines a 9.75% excise tax on the adjusted gross revenues on wagers made at a certified in-person location, and a 14.25% tax on wagers placed online or on a smartphone at a partner site.

“[Our] Main goal is following the law, be ready in the summer, which really ties into football season,” Wholihan said.

As a part of the bill, online betting agencies have to partner with at least one race track in the state.

Wholihan says they are aware of the traditional issues gambling can cause, such as addiction. That’s something he says the partners have experience with and he’s confident they will be able to help those struggling with addiction.

An amendment to the bill that was added before Gov. Andy Beshear signed it into law dedicates 2.5% of tax revenue to a problem gambling fund.

The whole betting operation will be overseen by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

It will go live sometime this summer, with an exact date to be determined by Attorney General Daniel Cameron, but Wholihan says that should give everyone enough time to prepare for when it finally takes effect.