More changes afoot for Kentucky gambling regulators

KY Horse Racing Corporation
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The establishment of a sports wagering division was just the start of the changes for Kentucky regulators this legislative session.

This week, the state legislature approved a sweeping overhaul of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission which will recategorize the group as the Kentucky Horse Racing and Gaming Corporation.

The bill, SB299, not only creates the new organization but also removes some of the control the governor has over appointments to the commission. What were previously uncontested appointments now need Senate approval. Moreover, the list of types people qualified to fill these roles is now much more specific and requires appointees to bring industry knowledge to the table.

If Gov. Andy Beshear signs the bill, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will transition over to the corporation on July 1 of this year. All current appointees to the KHRC will stay in their posts for two years to ensure consistency across the transition.

On July 1, 2025 the corporation will also expand to include charitable gambling.

The corporation will be required to conduct an annual audit and produce an annual report it will present to both the governor and the Legislative Research Committee.

 “With the passage of SB 299, we’re taking a crucial step in safeguarding the integrity and prosperity of our signature horse racing industry,” said bill sponsor Sen. Damon Thayer. “As a cornerstone of Kentucky’s heritage and economy, it’s imperative that we uphold strong oversight and management of these vital industries. I contend the success of this industry demands it be a stand-alone entity capable of utilizing its funding without having to get authorizations from a bureaucratic agency. I am proud to sponsor this measure to promote this integral part of the commonwealth.” 

Thayer was also one of the sponsors behind the bill passed earlier in the session which established a sports wagering division of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.