FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56) — College football returns this week, and Kentuckians itching to bet big on games this season only have a little longer to wait. An important meeting is set for Tuesday that will bring sports betting a step closer to reality in the Commonwealth.
“The tracks have been applying for sports wagering licenses through the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and then some of them have been doing it in coordination with online wagering service providers. And so those partnerships could potentially be announced as soon as Tuesday,” John Cox, director of public affairs at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, told FOX 56.
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When the legislature passed the law legalizing sports betting, it made the state horse racing commission responsible for regulating it. A set of emergency regulations was signed in July. The sportsbooks themselves must be partnered with one of Kentucky’s nine racetracks, totaling 14 in total, counting satellite locations and those under construction. This is where all in-person bets will happen.
“They can partner with up to three different service providers per track. So far, I think seven racetracks out of the nine have applied. I believe, you know, there could be one or two more of the nine that apply by tomorrow,” Cox explained.
In-person betting begins on Sept. 7. From Tuesday’s meeting, Kentuckians will know which tracks are participating and which sportsbooks they’re using. Mobile betting won’t roll out until Sept. 28. But bettors can open an account a month ahead of time.
“You’ll actually be able to preregister for those accounts on Monday, the 28 of August. I believe it is to kind of ease the, you know, online presence of having so many people trying to register at the same time,” Cox said.
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Online bets will cost more because they are taxed at 14.25%. In-person sales are taxed at 9.75%. In addition to paying for operating costs, the extra money coming into the state will benefit pensions and a problem gambling fund. Early estimates predicted Kentucky could bring in $23 million, but Cox predicts it could be higher.
“We’ve seen some reports from states that are similar in size to Kentucky, and it’s been more around the 30 million mark,” he said.