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Sports betting in Kentucky could soon become a reality, with a launch late in 2023 or early 2024 looking possible. After a successful vote in the Kentucky State Senate on Mar. 28, the state is just a Governor's signature away from sports betting legislation going into law. Governor Andy Beshear has been a vocal supporter of Kentucky sportsbooks, and he will likely sign a bill.
HB 551 was pushed in the House by Representative Michael Meredith and in the Senate by Majority Leader Damon Thayer. Credit is being given to both as they positioned HB 551 better to pass than previous iterations of sports betting bills that have failed.
What is interesting about this bill is that, unlike previous versions, it dropped any poker options or daily fantasy sports. The bill still included sports betting licenses for all nine horse racing tracks in Kentucky. What was new was that the bill included three skins for each track when past bills only had one.
The bill's proposed tax rate is 9.75% for all in-person sports betting revenue. At the same time, all online sports betting revenue would be taxed at 14.25%. The bill passed with a two-thirds majority vote, 25-12, only needing 23 votes.
Another important note for sports bettors in Kentucky is that the bill includes betting on college teams with no restrictions. Previous iterations of sports betting bills in Kentucky had not allowed for it. With this version of the bill, expect wagers to be placed heavily on the Kentucky Wildcats basketball and football teams, as Kentucky has no professional teams in the state.
Residents of Kentucky have been polled previously, with stats indicating that they are heavily in favor of legalized sports betting. It also is a situation where the state is losing money as almost every surrounding state has legalized sports betting.
Pundits are saying that some form of online wagering will likely be happening before the end of 2023. As some other states have done, Kentucky could launch retail before online sports betting. That is no sure thing, and Kentucky is well positioned to launch quickly with legalized horse betting already set up in the state.
It is expected that many of the major sports betting platforms will operate in Kentucky. With the nine-horse racing track/satellite facilities having three skins each, there is room for as many as 27 operators in the state. With a sportsbook-friendly tax rate, it should lead to sportsbooks flocking to the state.
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I am a huge sports fan; locally, many know me as the guy who does the PA for our high school football team on Friday nights. Having grown up in Michigan, I am a sports fan of all the Detroit teams, and at the college level, I love Michigan State sports.More info on Caleb Tallman
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