The funds [from the KPGA account] can be used to promote both awareness and education to reduce and prevent problem gambling and pay for the costs associated with treatment and recovery. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed an emergency regulation that calls for the state to begin administering the Kentucky Problem Gambling Assistance (KPGA) account, which will eventually be funded by tax revenue from sports betting in KY.
The Democratic governor signed the measure on Friday, according to a report by Kentucky Today.
“This regulation establishes the process for providing funds to this account, to support agencies, groups, organizations, and persons, that are best able to help those who experience problem gambling,” Beshear said, according to the report. “The funds can also be used to promote both awareness and education to reduce and prevent problem gambling and pay for the costs associated with treatment and recovery.”
Last month, Beshear signed an executive order creating the seven-member Kentucky Sports Wagering Advisory Council (KSWAC). At the time, Beshear claimed sports betting would generate $23 million annually for the state’s permanent pension fund and the problem gambling assistance account — but he didn’t specify how much would go to either need.
Beshear added that sports betting “means more dollars for our pensions for hardworking law enforcement, for teachers, firefighters, and other public servants. These are investments that we all want, and those hardworking individuals deserve.”
The report by Kentucky Today did not indicate that the governor made similar comments on the needs of problem gamblers.
Considering the media outlet focuses on issues of interest to the Southern Baptist Convention and that its report also included that the Kentucky Baptist Convention “opposed the sports betting legislation, citing concerns such as gambling addiction and the impact on families,” it seems extremely likely that Beshear did not make a comment touting additional funding for responsible gaming efforts.
That would seem to indicate that more of the $23 million will go toward funding the state’s permanent pension fund rather than the problem gambling assistance account.
“[KSWAC] will assist us in carrying out the requirements we have under the law, in supporting the integrity of sports betting,” Beshear said. Under the state’s new gambling law, which Beshear signed into law on March 31, the council will also advise the regulator in charge of the vertical, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC).
Retail sports betting is scheduled to launch in Kentucky on September 7, with mobile sports betting in KY to follow on September 28. “Sports betting will be here just in time for the NFL kick-off, tailgating, and the college football season,” Kentucky Today quoted the governor as saying.
According to state statute, the Kentucky Problem Gambling Assistance account will be administered by the director of the Division of Behavioral Health, part of the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental, and Intellectual Disabilities, which falls under the direction of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
Under the sports betting bill Beshear signed in March, each of the state’s seven horse racetracks and at least two other entities will be allowed to operate up to three skins for mobile sports betting. Retail sports betting will be taxed at a rate of 9.75%, while online wagers will be taxed at 14.25%.