Kentucky sports betting regs ban risk-free language, fixed odds racing

Turfway Park in Florence, KY
Image: Shutterstock

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission posted the emergency regulations for sports betting in the state Tuesday afternoon. The regulations offered some clarity on what Kentucky sportsbooks will and will not be able to offer.

No risk-free or misleading marketing language

As KYRC Chairman Jonathan Rabinowitz alluded to, there are responsible gambling measures in place in the state. Each operator will need to offer ways to enroll in the state’s voluntary self-exclusion list. Additionally, the regs stipulate the following about misleading language:

“Promotions or bonuses shall not be described as free or risk-free if those promotions or bonuses require the patron to incur any loss or risk the patron’s own money to use or withdraw winning from the free wager”

There is also language about how sportsbooks must handle customers who want to opt out of bonus promotions with spending requirements and other terms.

Yes on esports, no on fixed-odds racing and awards

One other element of the regulations drawing attention is the explicit prohibition of fixed-odds horse and dog racing. While it may seem surprising that a horse-obsessed state like Kentucky would eliminate such things, the retail sportsbooks are located at racetracks and it appears the regulation could be to protect the parimutuel wagering happening at those sites.

What is included in the regulations is betting on esports. The esports industry is one Kentucky is very interested in given the University of Kentucky’s investment in its esports program.

While esports betting is allowed, the regulations are very specific that wagers need to be on a sport or sporting event, which would eliminate the possibility of wagering on things like the Heisman Trophy, the NBA Draft, or the Oscars.

As for the licensing process, the $500,000 license fee for remains in place. Provider licenses cost $50,000 upfront and include a $10,000 renewal fee.

Operators will be granted a one-year temporary license initially, giving the commission time to stand up sports betting quickly and then go back and execute a full review of operators before approving them for permanent licensure.