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Kentucky Sports Betting
Home of the famed Kentucky Derby, the state faced some long odds during the 2021 legislative session with just 30 days on the clock to try and pass a sports betting bill to legalize the industry. Well, attempts to legalize sports betting in early 2021 have come short, with the window of opportunity shutting firmly on sports wagering once again and Kentucky continuing to look for solutions that can work on every level of government.
The move in early 2021 failed because the state had to muster 60% support for a solution that would have legalized sports gambling in the state. With the attempts missing the mark, the only legal option to date remains horse racing and the famed Triple Crown race.
Latest Gambling News in Kentucky
Legal March 15, 2023
Kentucky Senate Committee Approves Betting Bill
Kentucky may soon legalize sports betting as a new bill continues to gain traction. House Bill 511 seeks to allow wagering on sports at the state’s horse racing tracks, bringing a new gambling vertical to the state. In addition, racing tracks would be able to partner with up to three online operators, allowing local customers […]
Legal March 3, 2023
Kentucky Clears House Bill Banning Video Game Machines with Cash Payouts
According to the Louisville Courier Journal, Rep. Killian Timoney’s House Bill (HB) 594 that would ban “gray” gaming machines in the Bluegrass State passed through a House committee with 13 “yes” votes and 7 “no” votes on Thursday evening. At the end of an hour-long, heated debate that reunited fervent members of the Kentuckians Against […]
Sports February 23, 2023
Kentucky Will Attempt to Legalize Sports Betting in 2023
This is the message that Rep. Michael Meredith wants to send to lawmakers and consumers after he filed a bill on Wednesday that would allow the state’s race tracks to host sports betting facilities and make gambling on sports outcomes legal before the session ends on March 30. New, More Balanced Approach to Sports Betting […]
Legal October 25, 2022
Class Action Against Scientific Games and Subsidiaries Filed in Kentucky
A class action has been filed against Scientific Games Corp. and two of its subsidiaries. The lawsuit was submitted to Fayette Circuit Court, Kentucky. Class Action Against Scientific Games for Offering Virtual Slot Machines in Kentucky The Lexington Herald Leader reported that Hannelore Boorn, a woman living in Lexington, has filed a class action lawsuit […]
When Will Online Sports Betting in Kentucky Roll Out?
Legal sports betting is definitely one of the most hotly debated items during the state’s legislative sessions and has been so since 2018. Yet, lawmakers are still not able to muster the support that introducing sports betting would require. Late 2021 or early 2022 is the earliest when Kentucky can push ahead with proper sports betting legislation that hits the mark and fulfills the state’s long-pursued objective.
There have been some positive signs, however, and Gov. Andy Beshear has rallied behind sports wagering as he has behind online poker in the past. The governor’s argument is simple – legalize sports betting to help offset the budget shortfall that the pandemic left.
Kentucky’s sports betting efforts have been spearheaded by Rep. Adam Koenig, who has been working on various legislations to see a bill pushed. Koenig’s most recent sports betting bill included a clever way to capitalize on the state’s horse racing tracks, chief among which Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby takes place.
Koenig has outlined sports betting language according to which the state would enable online and mobile sports betting but charge a 14.25% tax compared to 10.25% for wagers placed at brick-and-mortar locations. The Bluegrass State is still not settled on the details, but sports wagering is inevitable at this point.
Mobile Wagering in Kentucky: Already Known to Sports Fans
Kentuckians are already familiar with how remote sports gambling works. Any attempt to regulate the industry should therefore factor this in and allow the state to enable mobile licenses. The outlook seems optimistic, too, as Koenig’s 2021 bill did include language that would have legalized daily fantasy sports.
FanDuel, DraftKings, and Yahoo! Sports presently operate in the state without a license but benefit from Kentucky’s ambiguous laws that prohibit sports betting on professional sports teams but no so much on daily fantasy contests.
Nevertheless, no bill has been passed to actually try and amend the situation, giving us every reason to believe that whatever sports betting bill is coming next, it would not fail to include language promoting online sports betting as the right way to reap the biggest dividends for the state.
Can You Bet Legally on Horse Racing in Kentucky?
Naturally, the state is known for the Kentucky Derby, the Triple Crown event that draws huge crowds and is one of the most significant races on the calendar. Horse racing’s regulated status has benefited the state’s well-developed industry, which operates out of seven race tracks in the Bluegrass State.
Kentucky has had racetracks since 1805, too, but the state is surprisingly liberal when it comes to horse racing, and residents can even place bets remotely on websites such as TwinSpires and do so legally.
What Sportsbooks Are Coming to Kentucky Legalized Sports Betting?
Once Kentucky sports betting becomes legal, we are bound to see an influx of sportsbooks looking to secure the best possible entry into the market. Churchill Downs, the venue that hosts the Kentucky Derby, is actually already running online sports betting business out of state.
In April 2021, Churchill Downs Incorporated launched mobile sports betting apps in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. The company already operates TwinSpires, the betting app that is available in the majority of horse racing states in the United States and accepts horse race wagers.
The point is that Kentucky is definitely not without candidates when it comes to setting up sportsbooks in the state. In fact, you can argue that CDI, FanDuel, and DraftKings are already patiently biding their time and waiting for the legislature to give the greenlight gambling on professional sports contests.
However, as mentioned before, Koenig’s bill features seven betting licenses and present company included, which means there are at least four spots up for grabs if sports betting in Kentucky becomes legal in the context previously suggested by lawmakers.
More potential entrants could be brands such as BetMGM, WynnBet, PointsBet. PointsBet, in particular, is a really good one. The company is actually historically involved with horse races, and it has transitioned to sports betting only recently, coinciding with the firm’s debut in the United States.
What’s the Outlook for Kentucky Sports Betting in 2022?
The debate will rage on, and that is a fact. Adam Koenig and Andy Beshear will most likely continue to promote gambling, although the governor is also trying to navigate the challenging political context with the Republicans controlling both chambers with a supermajority.
Anti-gambling and religious sentiments are prevalent with certain groups in the state, giving a strong voice to opponents who don’t want gambling to move any further. While these groups are not as significant, nor are their arguments always justified, they are part of the GOP electoral base, and as such, their opinions matter.
Beshear is also not quite capable of delivering an outright endorsement of gambling simply because Republicans have been systematically restricting his powers through the legislature. Clashes will only intensify in the lead-up to the 2023 elections, so Beshear openly endorsing sports gambling legalization could actually hurt the industry’s chances of pushing through with a solid framework.
Yet, many sports fans hope that 2022 could be the year that Republicans see the benefit of legalizing the sports gambling industry. There is a lot riding on how the GOP responds to legalization attempts in the coming months.
Is sports betting legal in Kentucky?
No. Sportsbooks are not legal in Kentucky right now. A bill that legalizes sports betting in Kentucky could be passed during the 2022 legislative session.
Can you place mobile sports wagers in Kentucky?
No. You cannot place mobile wagers on professional sports. However, you can place mobile wagers on horse races and daily fantasy sports. Mobile sports gambling is expected to be part of any legalization attempt.
Is horse racing legal in Kentucky?
Yes, you can legally place a wager on horse races in Kentucky. You can do so in person at one of the seven authorized race tracks or online via the TwinSpires betting app.
When is sports betting going to be available in Kentucky?
Legal sports betting could be legalized in 2022. There are still some challenges that remain ahead of lawmakers, including a strong opposition by the Republican Party.