As Kentucky prepares to launch its sports betting program, Governor Andy Beshear has put his signature on emergency regulations to create a problem gambling fund. This move is designed to provide resources to combat gambling addiction in the state.
A New Era for Kentucky’s Betting Landscape
As sports betting moves closer to becoming legal in Kentucky, Governor Beshear has approved regulations that pave the way for community organizations and behavioral health professionals to apply for grants from a new fund. This fund, dubbed the Kentucky Problem Gambling Assistance account, forms part of a wider initiative to promote responsible betting as sports gambling becomes legalized in the state.
The fund, which is projected to hold around $575,000 in its inaugural year, will be used to support problem gamblers. It will finance counseling services, educational initiatives, and awareness programs. Additionally, it will cover expenses related to treatment and recovery. The fund’s coffers will be replenished with 2.5% of the yearly revenue generated by Kentucky’s sports betting industry.
Management of the account will fall under the purview of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The department estimates that the yearly cost of managing the fund could reach up to $50,000.
The establishment of this fund highlights the pressing need for such resources in Kentucky. Over 100,000 adults in the state show signs of problem gambling, while another 45,000 battle with gambling addiction, engaging in games like baccarat, roulette, blackjack, and more. Yet, there are only seven certified mental health professionals available to assist them.
Sports Betting to Kick Off in September
Kentucky is gearing up to launch sports betting by September 7, in time for the start of the NFL season. Nine sportsbook operator licenses are up for grabs, tied to the state’s existing racetracks.
The cost of applying for a sports wagering license has been set at $500,000. The state will tax revenues at 9.75% for in-person bets and 14.25% for mobile sportsbooks.
Governor Beshear, who is seeking re-election in November, has been a staunch advocate for sports betting. He has even promised to place the first bet once the sportsbooks open their doors.
The problem gaming regulations are open for public comment until September 30. While they have been enacted on an emergency basis, they will be replaced by permanent regulations after the public consultation process concludes.