Once Gov. Andy Beshear signed House Bill 551 into law March 31, many Kentucky residents await confirmation on when legalized sports betting will officially launch.

Most are eagerly waiting for the news.

State Sen. Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) attempted to give his constituents an update.

Sen. Damon Thayer: ‘Ready To Go By Football Season’

After huddling with Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Chairman Jonathan Rabinowitz, Thayer remains optimistic online sports wagering could go live with the start of the 2023 NFL season.

While the NFL, which is entering its 104th campaign, is expected to begin Sept. 7 with Week 1 regular-season matchups. Thayer is working to launch the Bluegrass State’s new industry before the opening kickoff.

Thayer said he and Rabinowitz agreed that their shared “desire on the part of the public to have something ready to go by football season.”

Kentucky sports betting does not become legal state-wide until June 29. As part of the new law’s verbiage, a waiting period of up to six months would allow the state’s influential racing commission ample time to line up with responsible regulations for in-person and online wagering.

Thayer and Rabinowitz expect the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to wrap up its work before the deadline.

“That doesn’t mean I have to take the whole six months,” Thayer said.

Kentucky Residents Will Have Wide Range Of Wagering Opportunities

Once Kentucky lawmakers and horse racing commissioners complete their due diligence, HB 551 will provide residents with brick-and-mortar locations and betting apps for professional and college teams and, of course, horse racing. They also will be able to wager on Esports and the Olympic Games.

According to legislation, betting in-person in Kentucky will draw an exercise tax of 9.75 percent, while online wagering will be taxed at 14.25 percent.

Thayer indicated the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission anticipates having in-person locations up and running by the end of summer, but acknowledged it could take longer.

“That’s a pretty aggressive launch,” he said, “but (Rabinowitz) thinks that there’s a chance that the racetracks could have their locations running by this fall.”

Mobile apps may have a separate launch date.

“The online options might take a little bit longer,” Thayer said.

To expedite the processes, the Kentucky Lottery Corporation and racing commission have already started issuing licenses and released temporary regulations to interested parties and organizations. Each of Kentucky’s nine horse racing tracks have opportunities to link up with three in-state online sportsbooks and offer on-premises retail betting.