The Bluegrass State was one of the few remaining US territories that had yet to approve some form of domestic sports betting. That all ended during the 2023 legislative session when legal sports betting in Kentucky was given the green light by local lawmakers.
Horse race betting has been allowed in KY for years, but now the full gambit of pro and college sports gambling will potentially be on the table for players in the region.
Politicians have cut straight to the chase, approving mobile sports betting apps for gamblers that are 18 and over. Both the method of delivery and the minimum gambling age will contribute toward keeping all sports betting dollars in the state.
Sportsbook applications grant users the ability to place wagers from anywhere in the state where gamblers can get a connection to the web via cell or Wi-Fi. Betting apps are more convenient than visiting an in-person sportsbook and waiting around to get paid.
The state-by-state sports betting revenue reports reveal that collections, hold, and tax dollars are exponentially higher in states that allow for mobile sports betting.
Kentucky has always allowed for betting on horse racing at the age of 18, so the legislature maintained that same minimum age for sports wagering. In-person sports betting will be allowed at the state’s racetracks, but the number of retail licenses has yet to be determined.
There are several offshore sportsbook sites that accept members from inside KY at 18, and domestic books matching that same minimum age is the best that the state can do to keep profits inside the border.
Sports betting will be regulated by the Kentucky Department of Lottery and Liquor, the same body that governs horse race betting. There is already early concern building in regard to the small number of staff that will handle domestic sportsbook regulation and the enforcement of violations.
According to HB 551, the Department will begin formulating regulations on June 28th of this year. Projections suggest that licenses could be granted for mobile operators by January 2024.
These outside vendors will operate through Kentucky-based racetracks, but local gamblers will likely be unable to tell that just from using the applications.
“It’s going to be very similar to other states where you will have an app, and that service provider will have their own application… So when you are wagering on your phone or on your app, you’re probably not even going to be aware that the track has a license that oversees all of that.”
KY House Representative Al Gentry (Louisville-D)
Most legal sports betting states did not start accepting wagers by their initial projection date, but even if KY is two months late to the party, there’ll be plenty of time left on the clock for betting on March Madness in 2024.