A nearly full scope of operators eyeing the Kentucky sports betting launch including the industry’s biggest players is now clear.
Gov. Andy Beshear shared an update from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission during his weekly press conference Thursday, including a list of seven initial applicants the KHRC will consider at an August 22 meeting. In-person Kentucky sports betting can begin Sept. 7, while online sports betting goes live Sept. 28.
“The countdown is on. Kentuckians can plan to place their first sports wagers, at a retail location, in just 28 days,” Beshear said.
“Bringing sports wagering to the state not only gives Kentuckians a much-anticipated new form of entertainment, but also brings money to the state to support pensions, freeing up money that can be used to build a better Kentucky through the funding of education, economic development, disaster recovery and other necessary projects, like providing cleaner water, building roads and high-speed internet.”
Kentucky sportsbooks in so far
Beshear said he expects more sportsbook operators to apply. For now, the KHRC has seven service provider applications to consider:
- Circa Sports
- Penn Sports Interactive (ESPN Bet)
Noticeably absent in the first round of applications released by the KHRC is Fanatics, which will roll out its sportsbook in US sports betting states this fall. WynnBet was also named in earlier KHRC updates.
Going for the top in Kentucky sports betting
FanDuel and DraftKings are the US sports betting market-share leaders. BetMGM and Caesars are also nationwide operators, and are No. 3 or No. 4 in most states.
Penn, which axed Barstool Sportsbook for ESPN Bet this week, will hope its new partner can bring in a strong performance when it launches in November. Barstool Sportsbook managed approximately 3.5% market share in the states it was live in.
Partners still shaking out
Seven of the nine horse racing tracks in Kentucky applied for sports betting licenses. Those nine tracks are the access points for KY sports betting, with up to three online operators allowed for each.
The tracks can also open in-person sportsbooks. The seven tracks are (with noted partnerships where known:)
- Churchill Downs (FanDuel)
- Cumberland Run
- Ellis Park
- Oak Grove Gaming and Racing
- The Red Mile (Caesars)
- Sandy’s Gaming and Racing (BetMGM)
- Turfway Park
Kentucky sports betting on track
After signing sports betting legislation March 31, Beshear hoped for a speedy turnaround in time for NFL betting. The March-to-September timeline will be among the quickest for a US sports betting market.
With approvals on August 22, Kentucky should stay on track for its target day.
“The KHRC is excited to open sports wagering and is working efficiently to meet the necessary deadlines,” KHRC Chairman Jonathan Rabinowitz. “This is a careful process dedicated to wagering integrity and protecting bettors in the state of Kentucky.”