Online sportsbooks went live for Kentucky sports betting at 6 am Eastern time today and LSR is tracking the latest news as the market
Check out our primer on what to expect from new legal Kentucky sports betting apps. Stay tuned to this space to see the newest developments in what is expected to become a billion-dollar sports wagering market by the end of 2023.
LSR is tracking which sportsbooks launch their apps today in Kentucky, as well as how the new state will perform in the middle of the busy NFL betting season.
Kentucky sportsbooks ready for NFL Week 4
Once sports betting legislation was signed this spring, Kentucky regulators aimed to have sports betting ready for the NFL kickoff on September 7. In-person sportsbooks did open in time to capture the opening weekend.
Now, Kentucky sportsbooks hit the goal of opening in time for the first game of Week 4: Thursday Night Football.
All seven operators that aimed to get off the ground Thursday are live and ready to go:
- Barstool Sportsbook
DraftKings first bet on Wildcats
Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones placed a $100 ceremonial first bet on the University of Kentucky Wildcats to win the NCAA Championship this season.
Jones made the first bet at The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland, where DraftKings has an in-person sportsbook.
“It’ll be added revenue for the state and it’s something fun for people when they want to watch games outside of just a Kentucky game that they’re interested in and the fact that you can do it from your phone, makes it easy,” Jones told WYMT.
Churchill Downs fall meet starts tonight
Horse racing is synonymous with Kentucky, and a big event is starting Thursday; the same online sports betting takes flight.
The Churchill Downs fall meet starts races at 5 pm. As noted earlier, FanDuelTV is live broadcasting from Churchill Downs.
Promos galore in Kentucky sports betting
Sportsbook operators are shelling out significant promotional offerings to launch Kentucky. FanDuel, for example, is offering +100 odds boost for the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers to score more than 1 point in tonight’s Thursday Night Football action.
That is on top of the sportsbook’s other welcome bonuses.
The push is in hopes of securing early market share in new markets. The front-loading of promos is easily seen when looking at recently launched states, like Kentucky’s neighbor Ohio.
In Ohio, operators have given back 88% of gross revenue to customers since the launch earlier this year. Ten out of 18 operators in the Buckeye State have given away more money than they have won in seven months.
Keeping Kentuckians home to bet
As Gov. Andy Beshear has touted the sports betting benefits for Kentucky, one of his main claims has been the tax money that will be kept within the borders from the legal sports betting markets surrounding the state.
While that was first said when in-person sports launched earlier this month, that is more true now with online sports betting.
“This is entertainment,” Beshear said. “It’s what Kentuckians were looking for. It’s going to boost tourism. It’s going to make sure we don’t lose that many people to Vegas in the first couple rounds in the NCAA tournament.”
FanDuel excited about Kentucky launch
FanDuel is the market share leader in US sports betting, and so far the sportsbook appears happy about its rollout in the Bluegrass State.
“Kentucky is off to a strong start for FanDuel,” FanDuel SVP and General Manager Karol Corcoran said. “Customers are highly engaged and taking advantage of our ‘Bet $5, Get $200 in Bonus Bets’ offer, as well as our Super Boost for 1+ point to be scored in tonight’s Lions v. Packers game. We’re excited about today’s launch and look forward to offering more exciting ways for sports fans in Kentucky to engage with their favorite teams.”
Circa Sports announces Kentucky plans
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced Circa Sports received a sports betting license last month, but the Las Vegas-based sportsbook announced its official plans Thursday. Circa enters the state through a partnership with Cumberland Run.
Despite the announcement, Circa still did not share a launch date, saying that will be shared soon.
“Circa Sports has experienced tremendous growth since our 2019 launch, and we’re thrilled to introduce our operations to the great Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Circa Sports CEO Derek Stevens said. “We are grateful to our partners at Cumberland Run for bringing this to life and look forward to sharing what the brand has in store for Kentucky.”
FanDuelTV, FanDuel Racing ‘all in on Kentucky’
A FanDuelTV source tells LSR the “team is all in” on Kentucky right now. There is exclusive coverage of Churchill Downs fall meet, the channel’s, formerly TVG, first time broadcasting at Churchill in 12 years.
A Kentucky-centric commercial is running regularly as well on the channel.
Operator coalition celebrates Kentucky
The Sports Betting Alliance, which is made up of several major US sportsbooks, tweeted an alert this afternoon about the launch of online sports betting in Kentucky. The coalition is a big driver of legislative efforts across the country.
Kentucky adds to growing mobile map
Kentucky was the 34th state to launch in-person sportsbooks earlier this month.
With today’s online debut, the US sports betting map now has 25 states with statewide mobile sports betting.
Kentucky has nearly the same population, 4.5 million, as Louisiana. In its first year of operation, Louisiana sportsbooks handled $2.5 billion in wagers.
Bet365 highlights first Kentucky wager
Bet365 shared the first bet placed in Kentucky.
The UK operator said a user wagered on Middle Tennessee to beat Western Kentucky in college football action tonight.
Kentucky is among the first states to see a full push from the starting line by bet365.
FanDuel reiterates its online launch
Earlier this morning, FanDuel announced its 6 am launch of online Kentucky sports betting with a Gronk video on Twitter.
Shortly after noon, FanDuel reminded users that Kentucky mobile sports betting is now live. This time, the tweet included one of the operator’s new user bonuses.
Keeneland supports partner sportsbook
Keeneland tweeted about the mobile launch of sports betting in Kentucky with a call to use its partner, Caesars.
Meanwhile, sportsbook partnership is off to a good online sports betting start, a Keeneland source tells LSR.
Local news pushes cybersecurity
Most Kentucky news outlets are touting the launch of mobile sports betting Thursday.
One outlet, Spectrum News, made sure to detail how to keep safe from online sports betting scams.
Spectrum News said to treat accounts like a bank account and to beware of “urgent” phishing scams.
Lead Kentucky legislators get shout out
During the Kentucky Joint Interim Licensing & Occupations Committee meeting Thursday, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Executive Director Jamie Eads thanked Rep. Michael Meredith and Sen. Damon Thayer for the successful launch.
The legislative update was centered around horse racing.
Churchill Downs goes big for sports betting
The Kentucky Derby is well-known across the globe and Churchill Downs made a splash last year when it bowed out of online sports betting to focus on B2B horse racing products for other operators.
With online sports betting heading to Kentucky, the company first partnered with FanDuel, one of its B2B horse racing partners.
Then it also partnered with Fanatics and Penn Interactive. Churchill Downs uses Kambi to power its in-person sportsbooks.
Horse racing key to sports betting
Kentucky legislators made sure to tie sports betting to its robust horse racing industry.
Tracks in the state can partner with up to three online operators, as well as open in-person sportsbooks.
The in-person sportsbooks opened September 7, but hope the migration to online can also drive business to the tracks, like Churchill Downs.
Sitdown with Kentucky sports betting godfather
Leading up to the launch of mobile sports betting in Kentucky, LSR sat down with former Rep. Adam Koenig, who was a driving force behind getting sports betting legal.
While not in office when sports betting legislation passed, Koenig was regularly highlighted by the main sponsors this year, Rep. Michael Meredith and Sen. Damon Thayer, as well as Gov. Andy Beshear.
Koenig was also onsite for ceremonial first bets when in-person sportsbooks opened this month.
Bluegrass State fast to launch
After Gov. Andy Beshear signed sports betting into law in late March, Kentucky regulators set out to meet a launch goal of the NFL season, which began September 7, the day in-person sportsbooks opened in the state.
That quick turnaround is among the fastest of legal US sports betting markets, including Arizona and Kansas the previous two years, which also went from spring legislative passage to launches in time to capture the entire NFL season.
Wide array of options for Kentucky sportsbooks
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission allows for betting on most sports across the globe, including the NFL and college football.
After the first sports betting catalog was approved in August, the KHRC added to it last week just before online launched today.
The additions included Formula 1 racing and two MMA promoters, PFL and Bellator.
Barstool pops up in Kentucky
Barstool Sportsbook is live and accepting bets in Kentucky, according to a Penn Entertainment spokesperson.
Penn announced this summer it will shutter the Barstool Sportsbook and relaunch a sportsbook under the ESPN Bet name later this fall. In the meantime, Kentucky bettors can wager on the Barstool app.
Young age limit for Kentucky sports betting
In writing the Kentucky sports betting law, legislators kept the minimum age for sports betting in line with the state’s horse racing industry: 18.
Only two online sportsbooks launched Thursday with the age at 18: DraftKings and Bet365.
The rest of the sportsbooks live are staying with 21 and older.
Bet365 continues US push in Kentucky
UK-based giant Bet365 has been relatively quiet in the US sports betting market until recently. Now, however, the operator is starting to ramp up its efforts, including a big start in Ohio.
Now, the sportsbooks is live in Kentucky, according to a tweet from its US Twitter account. Bet365 is in Kentucky through a partnership with Sandy’s Racing and Gaming.
Kentucky set for influx of sports betting
Kentucky sportsbooks took approximately $4.5 million in wagers in the first two weeks of in-person sports betting, which launched September 7. That will likely go up exponentially with the debut of online sports betting.
In states with both options, online generally brings in more than 90% of the overall handle. In states with similar staggered starts to the options, the first month of online action shows the potential of online sports betting to boost the handle.
College teams rule Kentucky
Kentucky is home to multiple Division I athletic programs, including University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.
The state also lacks a professional sports team, so college sports betting could push professional sports in handle totals.
This weekend, Kentucky football takes on No. 22 Florida at home Saturday, while Louisville heads to NC State Friday. Also, Kentucky basketball is among the favorites to win the NCAA Championship this season.
Radio Host Ready For First Bet in Kentucky
Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones will host his show live Thursday at The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland in Williamsburg in conjunction with DraftKings.
Jones will also make a “ceremonial first bet” on the DraftKings Sportsbook app.
“I am excited to team up with DraftKings and their top-rated sportsbook to deliver KSR listeners and sports fan across Kentucky with engaging content and the latest DraftKings offerings,” Jones said. “We at KSR wanted to make sure that we were working with the best company for those eligible to wager in Kentucky, and I am estatic that we have done just that.”
Kentucky bettors set to draw from neighbors
Gov. Andy Beshear touted the sports betting industry’s ability to help keep tax dollars in Kentucky.
With that, Kentucky will also remove handle and tax dollars from its neighboring states with legal sports betting. Ohio and Indiana are the two markets likely to be hit hardest with the new legal online jurisdiction.
Fanatics hits ground running in Kentucky
On Wednesday night, Fanatics said its sportsbook would be available for Kentucky bettors at 6 am.
The sportsbook highlights its up to 5% back in FanCash for every bet made on the platform. Fanatics is also offering a $150 Fanatics credit to any bettor that places a $50 bet between 9 am Thursday and October 4.
“We are launching in Kentucky with our signature jersey drop promotion where customers can sign up and suit up with a fresh jersey from any team and any sport from Fanatics.com,” Fanatics Betting and Gaming Chief Product Officer Scot McClintic said.
BetMGM welcomes Kentucky bettors
BetMGM announced its debut in Kentucky by press release.
“Kentucky is home to some of the country’s most passionate fans,” BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said. “We’re confident that our sports betting platform will elevate their gameday experience.”
BetMGM partnered with Revolutionary Racing for entry into Kentucky. This fall, the operator will open an in-person sportsbook at Sandy’s Racing & Gaming, a $75 million development in Ashland.
“Revolutionary Racing is the ideal partner to help us deliver a dynamic retail experience, one that will be a go-to destination for sports and entertainment in Kentucky,” Greenblatt said.
Kentucky has $2.9B handle potential
LSR projects Kentucky sports betting will bring in up to $1 billion in wagers by the end of 2023, thanks to the popularity of NFL betting and a new market.
Eventually, LSR expects continue sportsbooks to handle between $2.3 billion and $2.9 billion annually. That could bring in approximately $30 million in state taxes each year.
FanDuel uses Gronk to announce Kentucky
FanDuel posted a video to announce the debut of its sportsbook in Kentucky. FanDuel is in the Bluegrass State through a partnership with Chuchill Downs.
The video simply uses former NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski to tell Kentuckians the app is ready to use.
DraftKings highlights promo for Kentucky
In its welcome tweet, DraftKings highlighted its bonus bets offer for new users. DraftKings is in the state through a deal with Cumberland Run, which can also open in-person sportsbooks at its tracks and OTBs.
The post also proudly states, “The wait is over.”
Caesars goes live in Kentucky
Caesars tweeted it was live in Kentucky with a promo video. Caesars was the first sportsbook to announce its entry partnership into Kentucky, which is with Keeneland and Red Mile Gaming & Racing.
Rather than tout a introduction bonus, Caesars highlighted the Caesars Rewards program.
Kentucky Governor continues sports betting excitement
Gov. Andy Beshear placed the first bet in Kentucky earlier this month when in-person sportsbooks opened September 7.
Now, Beshear continues to tout the benefits of sports betting, including a video update this morning.
Online Kentucky sports betting is live
Seven sportsbooks plan to launch today as the Bluegrass State opens online sports betting at 6 am. The Seven sportsbooks:
- Barstool Sportsbook