Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Approves Sports Wagering
In a significant development for the state of Kentucky, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has approved the introduction of sports wagering, with the new regulations set to go into effect at the start of the NFL season in September.
The decision was made following a 25-12 vote in favor of sports betting by the Republicans-controlled Senate three months ago. The KHRC officially voted on the matter at a meeting held at Red Mile Gaming and Racing in Lexington, Kentucky.
The new sports betting bill, which was signed into law by Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, marks a major step forward for the state. Governor Beshear emphasized the financial benefits of sports wagering in a statement, noting that the introduction of sports betting would bring in additional revenue to support various public projects, from education to economic development and disaster recovery.
The legalization of sports betting is expected to generate approximately $23 million annually in taxes and licensing fees for the state of Kentucky. It is also anticipated to attract more interest in horse racing among punters at the track.
Once the new law takes effect, sports wagering will be available at several horse racing sites across the state, including Ellis Park in Henderson, Turfway Park in northern Kentucky, and Keeneland in Lexington. Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI), the owner of these tracks, has also made plans to offer sports wagering at their Derby City Gaming facility and a new facility under construction in downtown Louisville.
In addition to these developments, CDI currently operates TwinSpires.com for online thoroughbred betting and has entered into a partnership with FanDuel.com for sports betting. Keeneland has also partnered with Caesars Sportsbook to operate at the Red Mile racecourse.
The KHRC regulations will oversee the granting of licenses to up to nine operator properties and three providers, in addition to employing 14 officials to oversee technical operations and responsible gaming. These steps signify a significant move towards embracing the potential of sports wagering in Kentucky.