Days before Kentucky sports betting kicks off with the start of the NFL season, residents of the Bluegrass State can attend an Aug. 22 public hearing to say what they think of emergency sportsbook regulations. Sportsbooks will be governed by those 11 proposed administrative regulations when retail sports betting begins on Sept. 7 and online sportsbooks launch on Sept. 28.
The 11 permanent regulations, called “ordinary,” also have a public comment period and a Sept. 22 public hearing. Both hearings will be hosted by the sports wagering regulator, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC).
The commission unanimously approved the emergency sportsbook regulations on July 10. Gov. Andy Beshear signed them minutes later; then, the KHRC filed all 22 proposed rules with the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) at 4 p.m.
The regulations result from HB551, the esports and sports betting bill Beshear signed into law on March 31.
He expects esports and sports betting to generate $23 million in tax revenue yearly. Mobile sportsbooks are taxed at 14.25%, and retail sports betting operators pay 9.75%. The state allows 27 sites to operate.
Ordinary and Emergency Sportsbook Regulations
These proposed ordinary and emergency sportsbook regulations regard licensing for sports betting service providers, personnel, racing associations, and premises.
Next, 18 pages of “general provisions” are followed by sports wagering standards, technical requirements and oversight, rules regarding accounts, audit and internal control standards, responsible gaming and advertising, and disciplinary actions and hearings.
Most of the rules are expected, such as operators being prohibited from marketing to minors or having misleading ads.
Public input can result in amendments to Kentucky’s regulations.
That may mean sports wagering opponents, such as religious leaders who didn’t want to see legal sports betting happen, won’t comment.
However, it’s hard to know that. The commission’s general counsel, Jennifer Wolsing, is the contact for members of the public who want to attend or submit comments to the public hearings. She didn’t immediately respond today to a question from Bonus about the level of public interest she’s seeing in the 22 proposed regulations.
The hearings that start at 9 a.m. on Aug. 22 and Sept. 22 at the Lexington KHRC facility aren’t the only ways the public can provide input on the rules. Written comments are welcome until Aug. 31 on the emergency sportsbook regulations and until Sept. 30 on the ordinary ones.
Unless they’re replaced sooner by the permanent rules, the emergency sportsbook regulations expire on April 5, 2024.
While it isn’t yet on the agenda for the Sept. 12 meeting of the bicameral Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee, the emergency rules are “tentatively scheduled” for that body’s review then. According to the proposed emergency sportsbook regulations filed on July 10, the Kentucky General Assembly committee will adjust to accept amendments to the proposed emergency sportsbook regulations until Sept. 15. (That’s if they arrive from the public at all.)
Next, the subcommittee will review the permanent regulations in October. Again, if amendments based on public comment occur, the subcommittee will accept them until Oct. 13.
Meanwhile, on July 13, Beshear signed an executive order to create a Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC) to help the KHRC.
Beshear’s newsletter that day said:
The council will assist in carrying out legal requirements and support the integrity of sports betting in Kentucky. Council members will include the Public Protection Cabinet secretary, three members and an employee of the Horse Racing Commission, and two at-large members.
One of the council’s advisory jobs is to help the KHRC in “drafting administrative regulations.”
So there may be more sports betting rules to come.