The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has received applications for new mobile sports betting licences from seven operators including Bet365 and FanDuel.

Kentucky will open its legal online wagering market next month, as per a schedule agreed last month. This came after the governor, Andy Beshear, approved legal betting by signing off on House Bill 551 in April.

Retail wagering will go live on 7 September, with mobile following on 28 September.

Applications for licences in the state have been open for some time, with the KHRC receiving proposals from a number of major operators.

Joining Bet365 and FanDuel in applying for mobile licences are BetMGM, Caesars, Circa, DraftKings and Penn Sports Interactive.

Kentucky racetracks eye retail licences

In terms of retail permits, the KHRC said seven of the state’s licensed sportsbooks have put forward applications.

These include Churchill Downs in Louisville, Oak Grove Gaming and Racing in Oak Grove, Ellis Park in Henderson, The Red Mile in Lexington and Turfway Park in Florence.

Other applicants are Cumberland Run, which opens soon in Corbin, and Sandy’s Gaming and Racing, a new site in Ashland. BetMGM last week partnered with the Sandy’s venue to secure market access in Kentucky.

Racetracks that secure a sports wagering licence may open retail sports betting facilities at their satellite locations.

All applications will be subject to a vote at a meeting of the full Commission on 22 August. It warned that applications do not guarantee licensure in the state.

Governor Beshear reiterated previous comments that legalising sports betting in Kentucky will help generate more funds for the public purse.

Countdown is on to legal betting

“Kentuckians can plan to place their first sports wagers in just 27 days,” Beshear said.

“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.

“This frees up money that can be used to build a better Kentucky through the funding of education, economic development, disaster recovery and other necessary projects, like providing cleaner water, building roads and high-speed internet.”

KHRC chairman Jonathan Rabinowitz added: “The KHRC is excited to open sports wagering and is working efficiently to meet the necessary deadlines. This is a careful process dedicated to wagering integrity and protecting bettors in the state of Kentucky.”

Sports betting rules in Kentucky

Signed off by Beshear in the spring, House Bill 551 succeeded where previous attempts to legalise sports wagering failed.

The bill makes nine Kentucky racetracks eligible to offer on-site retail betting. Each track can also partner with up to three online operators. This means up to 27 licences are up for grabs.

Kentucky will operate with a two-tier system for taxation. Online tax rate is 14.25% of gross gambling revenue and retail 9.75%. A licence will cost a racetrack $500,000 and an online operator $50,000 to partner.

However, the bill does not contain tribal provisions. Neither of the state’s two tribes – the Southern Cherokee Nation of Kentucky and the Ridgetop Shawnee Tribe of Indians – are recognised by the US Department of Interior. This means they do not qualify for state gaming compacts under the Federal enabling law for tribal gaming the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

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