Kentucky Governor Creates Sports Wagering Advisory Council

The seven-member panel will advise the governor, state bodies, and the new regulator for sports betting, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC).
A brown horse in Kentucky. Kentucky Governor Creates KYSports Wagering Advisory Council (KYSWAC)
By
July 18, 2023

We have worked hard to deliver sports wagering to Kentuckians with regulations designed to protect bettors. Three days after signing emergency regulations for mobile sports betting in Kentucky into effect, Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order creating an advisory council for the state-regulated enterprise.

The order issued Thursday by the Democratic governor creates a seven-member panel, the Kentucky Sports Wagering Advisory Council (KSWAC).

KSWAC’s duties include advising the regulator in charge of mobile sports betting, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC). It will also advise the governor’s office and the Public Protection Cabinet (PPC) — which oversees a large share of state government, including the KHRC.

“It is beneficial to the citizens of the commonwealth that an advisory group be in place to assist the KHRC in carrying out the requirements of HB 551,” Beshear wrote in his order, referring to the KY mobile sports betting bill that he signed into law on March 31.

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The governor added that KSWAC would “advise me and future governors, the KHRC, and the PPC on sports wagering and improving its integrity and operations in Kentucky.”

KSWAC will have seven members, the first of whom will be the secretary of the PPC or their designee. The governor will appoint three members, one of whom will chair the panel.

The current PPC secretary, Ray Perry, weighed in on sports betting after Beshear signed the emergency regulations into force on July 10.

Sports wagering will add to Kentucky’s record-breaking economic momentum, offer jobs for Kentuckians, boost tourism, and ensure money stays within our borders. “We have worked hard to deliver sports wagering to Kentuckians with regulations designed to protect bettors,” Perry said last week. “Kentuckians can be sure that their bets are safe, their money is protected, and there is effective oversight and enforcement if the law is not followed.”

A current employee of the KHRC and two at-large members appointed by the governor round out the seven-member council.

According to the executive order, KSWAC will also advise KRHC on developing administrative rules governing sports betting and propose an initial operating budget — and subsequent operating budgets — for revenue deposited into the state’s sports wagering administrative fund.

“Sports wagering will add to Kentucky’s record-breaking economic momentum, offer jobs for Kentuckians, boost tourism, and ensure money stays within our borders,” Beshear wrote in his order. “Sports wagering will generate an estimated revenue increase of $23 million per year that will be dedicated to the Kentucky permanent pension fund and partly to the problem gambling assistance account.

“This new revenue will not only help Kentucky communities; it will also provide Kentuckians with an additional avenue for entertainment.”

KSWAC will also be tasked with “recommending agreements with other jurisdictions that may be beneficial for the KHRC to facilitate, [and to] administer and regulate multi-jurisdictional sports wagering that is compatible with Kentucky law,” according to the executive order.

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Sports Betting Set to Start on September 7

Under the emergency regulations signed last week by Beshear, retail sports betting will start on September 7, while mobile sports betting in Kentucky will launch three weeks later, on September 28. The former date corresponds with the start of the upcoming NFL season.

The sports betting bill Beshear signed in March will allow each of the state’s seven horse racetracks and at least two other entities to operate up to three skins for mobile sports betting. Retail sports betting will be taxed at 9.75%, while online wagers will be taxed at 14.25%.

So far, Caesars Entertainment is the only operator to have announced a partnership in Kentucky — it will operate its sportsbook in partnership with Keeneland and Red Mile Gaming & Racing, the latter of which owns and operates The Red Mile.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500

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