LEXINGTON, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear (D) on Monday signed emergency regulations on sports gambling in the Commonwealth, paving the way for Kentuckians to wager on sports just in time for Week 1 of the NFL season.

What You Need To Know

  • Sports wagering in Kentucky is expected to officially launch on Sept. 7, 2023

  • Gov. Beshear signed emergency regulations alongside the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission clarifying the timeline, paving the way for Kentuckians to place bets by the start of the NFL season

  • Race tracks and gaming facilities can apply for a retail sportsbook permit through the KHRC starting Tuesday

  • Online and mobile sports betting will go live Sept. 28, Beshear said

Race tracks and gaming facilities can apply for a retail sportsbook permit through the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission starting Tuesday. Facilities eligible, many of which have already expressed interest or announced deals, include Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Keeneland, Turfway Park, Red Mile, Derby City Gaming and Mint Gaming.

On-location sports gambling will start Sept. 7 at approved locations, with mobile wagering set to launch Sept. 28.

“This is a historic day for our commonwealth – sports wagering will open for the first time in Kentucky in less than 60 days,” Beshear said during a press conference at Red Mile. “Bringing sports wagering to the state not only gives Kentuckians a much-anticipated new form of entertainment, but also brings money to the state to support pensions, freeing up money that can be used to build a better Kentucky."

In Monday's press conference, Beshear pledged to place the first legal bet in Kentucky.

Racetracks can partner with up to three online operators in addition to operating their own retail sportsbooks. Keeneland and Red Mile have already partnered with Caesars Sportsbook to operate their in-person and mobile sports betting.

Legalize by the passage of House Bill 551, sports betting has long been a pain point in Kentucky politics. The bill allows Kentucky’s horse racing tracks to be licensed as sports betting facilities for a $500,000 upfront fee and an annual renewal cost of $50,000.

“It took a three-fifths majority in the legislature to pass this but I had faith that we could do it, but we couldn’t of done it again without the bipartisan support of so, so many,” State Rep. Michael Meredith (R-Oakland), who was the bill’s primary sponsor said Monday. 

Meredith, as well as a number of other state lawmakers attended the regulation signing, including State Rep. Al Gentry (D-Louisville), who also co-sponsored HB 551. 

“Relief, excitement, it's been a lot of years of hard work going into this and it's a really good feeling when you finally push through and get something done,” Gentry said. 

Today’s news also was applauded by leadership of Red Mile. 

For Shannon Cobb the chief Operating and Financial Officer of Red Mile in Lexington, she believes bringing sports betting to the track will mean more visitors. 

“I do expect that we will see an increase in customers, probably not only locally but across the state and maybe even from a tourism perspective, ”Shannon Cobb, Red Mile chief operating and financial officer said. 

Cobb adds she’s glad to see one more way that Kentucky dollars will be spent in-state. 

“We’ve waited for a long time to see those dollars stay in our state and benefit the programs that we need to benefit,” Cobb said.

Supporters said it's estimated to generate about $23 million a year in tax revenue and licensing fees. 

Revenue is set to cover regulatory costs. A percentage of the revenue would go to a fund to help combat problem gambling. After that, the revenue would go to the state public pension system.