Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says state lawmakers and regulators are working overtime to prepare KY sports betting for the upcoming NFL season.
The goal is ambitious, given Beshear signed the bill in March. However, after speaking with reporters on Thursday, the governor said everyone is “committed” to meeting the deadline.
Kentucky sports betting aims for September
During his weekly press conference, Beshear said, according to PlayKentucky:
“I will tell you, this is a very ambitious goal to get this launched by the NFL season. But every single one of our cabinets and the [Kentucky] Horse Racing Commission have all committed to making it happen.”
Beshear noted that the horse racing commission is actively hiring advisors, analysts and auditors for gambling compliance to meet the deadline.
“This is a significant milestone,” Beshear said. “With the additional licensing and enforcement responsibilities, we have to add these jobs. That’s the first step toward implementation of this program.”
Regulators hope to speed up the process by looking at neighboring states that have implemented sports betting.
Beshear said the KHRC is speaking with officials from other states and looking at how they crafted initial emergency regulations to get their programs off the ground.
“[The KHRC] is looking at best practices. These meetings and conversations are occurring right now with an ambitious goal of getting this launched by the NFL season.”
A quick sports betting launch is possible in Kentucky
State Senator Damon Thayer and KHRC Chair Jonathan Rabinowitz have publicly said they hope for a pre-NFL launch. For now, the sports betting bill will go into effect on Jun. 28, stipulating that the industry must launch by Dec. 28.
The bill authorizes retail and online sports betting at Kentucky horse racetracks. The nine racetracks can partner with up to three mobile operators for a maximum of 27 sports betting apps in the state.
For those in Kentucky worried that regulators have over-promised, short timelines have been met before. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed a sports betting bill in mid-May last year, and sports betting apps launched by Sept. 8. So there is hope.
The 2023 NFL season will begin on Sept. 7.