Legal sports betting is 99.9% in the bag for Kentucky after HB 551 finally won the Senate’s approval at the proverbial eleventh hour on the last day of the state’s 2023 General Assembly.
All that separates Kentucky from a legal retail and online sports betting market is the signature of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear. Gov. Beshear’s relief at the bill’s 25-12 passage on Thursday was evident, stating: “We finally did it!”
Beshear will approve HB 551 on Friday morning
According to WLKY News, Beshear will approve HB 551 on Friday morning and, with that flourish of a pen, make Kentucky the 38th state to legalize sports betting in the US.
Under the bill, proposed regulator the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) would license the state’s horse racing tracks as both retail and online sports betting facilities. The participating tracks are permitted three service providers, typically commercial sportsbooks such as FanDuel and DraftKings.
Online poker and daily fantasy sports betting, however, seemed Kentucky’s sacrificial lambs. According to WLKY, the bill’s sponsors removed these two verticals from HB 551 to make the bill “more palatable.”