Tentative Kentucky Sports Wagering Catalog Has Some Glaring Omissions

Written By Derek Helling on August 31, 2023
racing louisville player lauren milliet forwards ball up the pitch

If you planned on visiting a physical sportsbook in Kentucky on Sept. 7 and placing some legal wagers on Louisville City FC or Racing Louisville matches, you might be disappointed. A preliminary list of the events that licensed sportsbooks in the state can accept could exclude those fixtures.

The catalog is still pending final approval from Kentucky regulators and even if approved as currently composed, it probably will see many additions in the future. In addition, the current omissions are somewhat open to interpretation and the catalog boasts a strong menu for bettors in one aspect.

Kentucky council makes catalog recommendations

On Thursday morning, the newly created Kentucky Sports Wagering Advisory Council (KSWAC) held its first meeting online. Its only matter of business was to recommend an initial catalog of eligible events for the state’s physical sportsbooks.

Those licensees should begin to take bets as soon as Sept. 7 across the state. For instance, Churchill Downs has already confirmed its plans to do so on that date at six locations across Kentucky. In order to facilitate that legal sports betting activity, a catalog of eligible events is necessary.

The KSWAC is just as the name suggests, an advisory body only. The real power to regulate sports wagering and most other forms of gaming in Kentucky still lies with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC). Thus, the KHRC still needs to approve the KSWAC’s recommendations between now and Sept. 7.

The initial event catalog is quite robust in some ways. In others, though, it seems to be lacking. To some extent that depends on the reading of the language, too.

Professional soccer matches could be left out

The tentative catalog is lean in some regards. For example, the only mixed martial arts competition that it includes is the UFC, excluding other fixtures like Bellator and the Professional Fighters League. Another exclusion that stands out is the LPGA.

In the section for soccer, there’s a broad category that reads, “international and domestic events sanctioned by FIFA.” At the same time, there is no explicit mention of the NWSL or USL, which are the leagues that the two clubs that play their home matches in Louisville operate in.

It’s probable that the vast majority of the fixtures that those clubs participate in will be covered by the “international and domestic events sanctioned by FIFA” permission. At the same time, some matches could possibly be excluded based on regulators’ interpretations as well.

Perhaps to the credit of KSWAC, the catalog is quite robust in terms of esports events eligible for wagering. Examples include League of Legends, Overwatch League and Valorant competitions.

For Kentuckians, it’s important to remember that not only is this catalog tentative but state law empowers the KHRC to make additions to it at that body’s discretion. This might be the first list of allowable events but it likely will not represent the sum total of wagers that legal sportsbooks in Kentucky will offer in the future.

Photo by AP Photo/AJ Mast
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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