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Kentucky governor signs sports betting bill into law

Kentucky gambling news

Gov. Andy Beshear signed the Kentucky sports betting into law on Friday, less than 24 hours after House Bill 551 passed through the Senate.

The governor held a “historic legislation” press conference to sign the sports betting measure as well as a second bipartisan bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state. Beshear also took the opportunity to educate Kentucky residents about the potential impact of the bill.

“For years I believed it was time for Kentucky to join so many other states and pass sports betting. We talk about having a competitive business climate, but we did not have an important business that nearly every state surrounding us has. Our dollars were supporting Indiana, West Virginia, Ohio and other states,” Beshear said in the press conference.

“After years of urging action, sports betting will be legal in Kentucky. We made it happen. This industry will bring new jobs, tourism and growth.”

Prior to the majority vote on Thursday, there were doubts that the Senate would approve the bill. The committee seemed like a much more uphill battle compared to how easily the bill was passed by the House.

Despite this, HB 551 supporters like it’s sponsor, Rep. Michael Meredith were “cautiously optimistic” of its success. The Senate voted 25-12 in the bill’s favor, passing the 23rd vote requirement.

The measure will allow in person betting in Kentucky and permit its nine horse racing tracks to partner with up to 3 mobile sportsbooks each which amount to 27 operators. Each of the state’s horse racing tracks can operate a retail sportsbook.

Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer estimated that the state would recieve up to $23 million in tax revenue annually. In person sports betting revenue will be taxed at 9.75% while 14.25% will be required from digital betting revenue.

The minimum age to bet in Kentucky was set at 18 and gamblers can place wagers on college sports, professional sports, esports and the Olympics.The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will be the new sports betting regulator.

“Kentuckians will soon be able to place their bets right here in the Commonwealth, and for the first time, those dollars are going to help support rebuilding our bridges, repaving our roads, funding our education system, and improving our communities,” continued Beshear.

“We are doing what is right — not just to keep dollars in our state, but to keep our red-hot economy on fire.”

The governor went on to thank the bill’s sponsor, Meredith, former Rep. Adam Koenig who previously championed Kentucky sports betting and Thayer for their contribution to the bill.

HB 551 will come into effect on June 28 and will require the sports betting market to launch within six months.

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