Kentucky leadership hopeful of sports betting launch for NFL season

Gov Andy Beshear
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Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear remains hopeful that sports betting can launch in the Bluegrass State by the beginning of the NFL season in September. 

As reported by WLKY News, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is already building the regulatory and physical infrastructure to get to a potential launch date as quickly as possible. 

The outlet has reported that the Commission is hiring staff to work across sports betting compliance as it prepares to take regulatory oversight of the new market. 

In preparation for a smooth launch, the KHRC is actively collaborating with neighboring regulators to share ideas on best practices and tips on regulating sports wagering. 

Gov. Beshear stated: “This is an exciting milestone. With the additional licensing and enforcement responsibilities, we have to add these jobs. That’s the first step towards the implementation of this program.”

Whilst the hiring process is underway to build a regulatory compliance team, the Horse Racing Commission is also gearing up to establish the framework that will govern Kentucky’s sports betting industry. 

Once HB551 comes into effect, the KHRC will have six months to build the regulations, with the state’s nine racetracks able to have three skins each, meaning 27 licenses are up for grabs. 

Nevertheless, race tracks and operators are not wasting time in establishing their links ahead of the potential launch date, with Caesars becoming the first big player to get a market access deal, subject to approval. 

The operator has agreed a deal with Keeneland and the Red Mile race tracks, firmly establishing itself as the local sportsbook in Lexington. 

While there is plenty of movement on the sports betting front, the KHRC has been sidetracked recently by events at Churchill Downs, where 12 horse fatalities in one month has forced the operator to suspend activity at its track. 

Despite several investigations, including a KHRC-led inquiry, the primary reason for the fatalities is yet to be discovered.