Kentucky Sports Betting Staggered Start Has Interesting Parallels

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Kentucky sports betting

While Kentucky sports betting is live, the action of the first two weeks is likely a fraction of what it will be in seven days. 

In-person Kentucky sports betting launched September 7. While sportsbooks have reportedly stayed busy, bettors will more than flood the market next week when mobile operators launch. In states with both options, mobile sports betting attracts more than 90% of monthly handle.

Through the first two weeks of sports betting, sportsbooks have taken $4.5 million in wagers, according to a release from Gov. Andy Beshear. Online Kentucky sportsbooks go live September 28, ready to capture the NFL betting action in Week 4 and beyond.

“This is a strong number that certainly reflects the excitement Kentuckians have for the opening of sports wagering,” Beshear said. “With college football and the NFL season underway, plus the launch of mobile wagering, we expect that number will grow significantly.”

What’s in store for Kentucky sports betting

There have been several staggered starts for legal sports betting markets. Most recently, Maryland and Massachusetts rolled out live sports betting in stages. 

Here are the differences in handle from the first full in-person month to the first full month with online sports betting:

A more apt comparison?

Both Maryland and Massachusetts have larger populations than Kentucky, approximately 6.2 million and 7 million people compared to 4.5 million. A more similar comparison might be Louisiana, which has a population of approximately 4.6 million.

The stark difference in retail versus mobile handle will not be as evident in Kentucky, as both options begin in September, but it helps demonstrate the mass use of online sports betting.

In-person sports betting forges ahead

In-person sportsbooks opened across Kentucky earlier this month.

Caesars has a sportsbook open at The Red Mile, which has been crowded both weekends, according to Jim Goodman, director of wagering development at Keeneland. Caesars will also have people on-site to assist with mobile registration at Keeneland when its fall meet begins October 4.

That includes six at Churchill Downs-owned properties with race and sports books.

Online sportsbooks prepping for Kentucky

Eight online sportsbooks have licenses for Kentucky. Most will be ready to go live on or shortly after next Thursday.

Those sportsbooks are: 

Circa Sports plans to launch later this year, according to Beshear’s release. Beshear also said 60,000 accounts have already been created.

Kentucky regulators meeting Thursday

The KHRC will meet Thursday to determine the sports approved for online sports betting. It approved the in-person catalog last month.

So far, sportsbooks can offer a wide array of sports across US and international leagues, both professional and collegiate.

LSR reporter James Gazzale contributed to this story.