Sports betting moves one step closer in Kentucky

Sports betting moves one step closer in Kentucky
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 9:41 PM EDT

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WAVE) - The clock is ticking but sports betting takes a major step forward in Kentucky following key votes by the state horseracing commission.

The commission approved 17 licenses during their meeting at Kentucky Horse Park, allowing race tracks and their sports book partners to begin setting up their sports betting operations.

“The governor, I was in his office, and he told me we’re gonna roll this out by NFL kickoff, and so, deadlines spur action we are well on course to hit that date and I see no hurdles,” Commissioner Jon Rabinowitz said.

Tracks like Churchil Downs, Ellis Park, and Turfway are approved to offer sports betting. They will be partnering with sports wagering companies like Caesars, FanDuel and Bet365. Unlike horse racing which allows bettors as young as 18, the commissioner said these sports betting companies would likely have a higher age requirement.

“A lot of these service providers have indicated to us that its going to be 21 and up, even thoguh we have that 18 and up ability, it seems we’re going to head down that 21 and up route,” Rabinowitz said.

Football, basketball, and baseball are just some of the sports that gamblers will be allowed to bet on. State staffers said they’re following a large catalog of bets that other states have already approved.

As far as horse racing, the Commission also approved Churchill Downs fall racing meet rules, including letting state thoroughbred development funds be paid to all finishers again. That had been restricted in early summer following the spate of horse deaths at Churchill Downs.

“I would tell you that we don’t think that’s an issue so we’re moving forward with what they suggested and made that decision,” Rabinowitz said.

The commission also approved a final order relating to Bob Baffert. It did not make the order immediately available by news time, but Rabinowitz expects it will end up being challenged in court.