Ahead of the much-anticipated debut of sports betting in Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear (D) has taken preventative measures by enacting emergency legislation to handle possible difficulties connected to compulsive gambling.
The commonwealth wants to make sure that there are enough services available to help those with gambling-related problems.
On July 27, Governor Beshear released a statement emphasizing the positive effects legal sports betting may have on the state’s economy. He did, however, stress the need for responsible sports betting and pledged his support for Kentuckians who may face challenges due to compulsive gambling.
The urgent regulations lay out a specific process through which nonprofits and mental health professionals in Kentucky may apply for funding from the state’s new Problem Gambling Assistance account. The account in question was established in accordance with a statute regarding wagering on sporting events that was previously brought into effect at the beginning of this year.
The start of the NFL season on September 7 is the target date for the launch of sports betting in Kentucky. There will be nine licensed sports betting operators in the state, all of which will be associated with existing horse racing facilities.
To be eligible for consideration for a license to engage in sports wagering, applicants are needed to make an initial payment of $500,000. Once sports betting is legal, the government will collect 9.75% of the profits made from in-person wagers and 14.25% from wagers placed via mobile sportsbooks.
Official statistics show that over 100,000 people in Kentucky display signs of problem gambling, with another 45,000 dealing with addiction. These figures emphasize the need for preventative measures to deal with the issue of problem gambling in the state.
In its first year of operation, the Kentucky Problem Gambling Assistance account is expected to receive initial funds of around $575,000. The legislation mandates that 2.5% of the income generated from legal sports betting be directed to address compulsive gambling concerns, which state authorities anticipate would initially amount to roughly $23 million.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services will manage the fund’s day-to-day operations. Departmental estimates place yearly administrative expenditures for maintaining the fund at about $50,000, or almost half of the typical employee’s annual income.
Regulations pertaining to problem gambling are presently available for public comment through September 30. While they were temporarily put in place, after the public comment period ends they will be replaced by longer-term rules.