Kentucky Sports Betting Begins Sprint For Launch By NFL Season

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If Gov. Andy Beshear gets his way, Kentucky sports betting will launch in time for the football season.

During a meeting this week, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission acknowledged it is working on sports betting regulations. The hope is to have regulations largely ready for when the KY sports betting law goes into effect in June.

During a press conference earlier this month, Beshear said he wants sports betting to start for NFL betting this year. While the KHRC did not suggest a go-live date, several sources told LSR it is possible Kentucky sportsbooks will be live by the football season. The law says sports betting must be “fully functional” within six months of the effective date, so a launch before the new year is all but inevitable.

Is there precedent for such a quick launch? 

Beshear signed the legislation March 31, which gives the market approximately five months to prepare to hit the goal. While a launch in time for the Sept. 7 NFL kickoff is speedy, the spring-to-fall turnaround is not unheard of, especially as of late. 

Last year, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed sports betting into law on May 12, 2022. Sportsbooks began taking bets Sept. 1, 2022.

Likewise, Arizona sportsbooks were able to go online Sept. 9, 2021, five months after Gov. Doug Ducey signed the state’s sports betting legislation into law in April 2021.

What licenses are available for KY sports betting

The sports betting legislation runs all sports betting licenses through the horse racing tracks in the state, which should expedite the process:

Each of those horse racing facilities can open in-person sportsbooks. They can also partner with up to three online operators.

Which online sportsbooks will be Kentucky? 

With 27 operators, most significant operators in US sports betting are likely to find their way into the Bluegrass State. 

The top-two operators, DraftKings and FanDuel, recently signed deals with Churchill Downs Inc. to integrate horse racing into their apps. CDI, meanwhile, exited its own online sports betting aspirations last year.

Caesars also has its horse racing app active in Kentucky.