Kentucky Lawmakers Approve Of 18+ Domestic Sports Betting

Soon, local sports bettors will no longer need to rely on offshore sportsbook sites as Kentucky lawmakers have passed a bill that will permit 18 and older players in the state to gamble on pro and college games in addition to horse racing.

House Bill 551 allows for retail sports betting locations to reside at KY’s horse racing tracks. Because betting on horses has traditionally been allowed in Kentucky at eighteen years old, the same minimum age requirement has been set for all sports betting in the state.

“Churchill Downs Inc. is excited to bring our experience operating brick & mortar sports wagering venues to our home state of Kentucky. All of our facilities throughout the state were designed with this possibility in mind and will be ready to offer sports betting under the regulations and timing of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.”

Churchill Downs Official Company Statement

There will also be licenses granted to online sportsbooks and mobile sports betting apps that can be downloaded to Apple and Android tablets and smartphones. These online 18-friendly sports betting sites can also be accessed on any web-ready device while inside KY.

This will curb the appetite of any players aged 18 to 20 in KY from traveling to Tennessee to use their sports betting apps. Kentucky sportsbooks could also attract Ohio, Illinois, West Virginia, and Indiana bettors to cross the border to use local sports betting applications at 18.

These mobile apps will be run by outside vendors like DraftKings and FanDuel but will operate in tandem with a land-based Kentucky facility.

While these sportsbooks could open and begin accepting bets as early as late June, there is still a lot of regulatory red tape that remains to be cut before licenses can begin to be issued by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Realistically, Kentuckians can anticipate the debut of online sports betting at some point in late 2023 or early 2024.

Exclusions for betting on amateur sports with athletes under the age of 18 and fantasy sports are a part of the bill’s language. Kentucky sportsbooks will be able to provide betting lines on all major pro and college sports, even if the institution resides within the state.

There is also an allowance for eSports, which is essentially betting on video games.

Early estimates forecast $22 million or more in tax collections based on sports betting revenue.

Online gambling sites that operate offshore are already open for business in Kentucky and are currently accepting 18 and older members. Not only do they offer sports betting services to their clientele, but they also grant access to their real money poker and casino games.

WDRB Louisville, Courier-Journal (Louisville)