Kentucky, while not overtly champing at the bit to introduce legal sports betting, has at least made provision for it to happen subject to Senate approval further down the line. Overseeing the process, which could gather pace in 2019, will be a nine-strong cross-party panel which will examine a new bill proposing betting on professional and collegiate, but not amateur, sports.

The bill states that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, comprising a panel of 15 members, will regulate sports wagering to be conducted at licensed horse race tracks and off-track betting facilities in the Commonwealth “…of the highest quality and free from any corrupt, incompetent, dishonest, or unprincipled practices”. It also stipulates that a separate licence is required for horse-racing facilities to conduct sports wagering at their venues.

In terms of costs to operate sports betting in Kentucky, the initial licence fee has been set at $250,000 with an annual renewal fee of $25,000 thereafter. Tax, meanwhile, has been set at a very reasonable three per cent of the total wager. The major sports leagues will be disappointed to learn, though, that the state has not made any provision in the new bill for integrity fees.

The upshot is that bettors will not be able to place a legal wager in Kentucky this year, and the process is anticipated to eat up most of 2019 before a complete bill can be signed off. Following that, the Commission will need to promulgate rules governing sports wagering. A 2019 go live date looks out of reach – 2020 is far more realistic.