Skip to content

Legalized gambling comes to Kentucky

By PJ Martin


The Herald-News


By now you have probably heard that Governor Andy Beshear signed House Bill 551 allowing sports betting in Kentucky. This will allow gambling on live sporting events and similar online betting sites. Per the wording of the bill, regulating all this will be the responsibility of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

As stated in new sections of KRS 230.225, the commission is attached to the Public Protection Cabinet for administrative purposes and consists of 15 members appointed by the Governor for various terms.

Sports betting can be provided through brick-and-mortar licensed facilities or online sites through mobile applications.

Things that will not be legal under HB 551 are online poker and fantasy sports betting.

Beshear released this statement, “Now, after years of urging action, sports betting is legal in Kentucky. We finally did it! Today’s result shows that hard work pays off…Kentuckians will soon be able to place their bets here and for the first time, we are going to keep those dollars here to support our economy and communities.”

Keep in mind that the law does not go into effect until late June; however, this makes Kentucky the 38th state to legalize sports betting. Despite being effective in June, putting the proper systems in place to take wagers may take a bit longer.

In the new sections of KRS 230, sporting activities that can be legally bet upon are professional sporting events, college sporting events (if sanctioned by the NCAA or the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics), amateur sporting events, international sporting events, including the Olympics and World Cup Soccer, electronic sports, e-sports, and competitive video game events, plus any other event that is authorized by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Five amendments were added to HB 551. The first allows providers to operate at a licensed facility for sports wagering and simulcast facility and removes the 12-month in-person registration requirement.

The second, bans credit cards as a form of payment.

The third ups the age to 21 before being allowed to place a bet.

The fourth defines the sporting events and places a tax on the adjusted gross revenue from wagers placed at the licensed track sports of 9.75% and a tax rate of 14.25% on the adjusted gross revenue received from off-site technology.

The fifth shows the most forethought by allotting 2.5% of funds received to the Sports Wagering Administration Fund to be set aside to fund the Kentucky Problem Gambling Assistance account.

The bill establishes the Wagering Administration Fund and directs monies collected to the Gambling Assistance Fund, the Public Protection Cabinet, and the rest into the Kentucky Pension Fund.

A service provider license will have a $50,000 nonrefundable application fee and an annual renewal fee of $10,000. A temporary license can be issued for an initial fee of $50,000 and is valid for one year. Licenses are issued at the discretion of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and the fees go to the Sports Wagering Administration Fund.

In Beshear’s press release, he states that betting is estimated to provide a revenue of $23 million a year once the systems are in full operation.



Leave a Comment