One week after Caesars Entertainment became the first to enter into mobile sports betting in Maine, the operator announced plans to provide mobile and retail sports betting at two horse racetracks later this year in another yet-to-launch state: Kentucky.
Caesars said it had entered into separate agreements to conduct real money sports betting in Kentucky with Keeneland and Red Mile Gaming & Racing, the latter of which owns and operates The Red Mile. Both tracks are located in the state capital, Lexington.
The operator plans to open brick-and-mortar retail facilities branded as Caesars Sportsbook at both tracks. Both agreements are subject to the regulatory approval of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC).
“Keeneland and Red Mile are iconic horse racing venues with an important legacy in the state of Kentucky,” said Eric Hession, President of Caesars Digital. “Customers in the region have long enjoyed our world-class Caesars destinations and, most recently, our horse racing wagering app, Caesars Racebook.
“Working with these historic institutions provides an unmatched opportunity to reach sports and racing fans in the state, and we look forward to working with the KHRC as we prepare to launch later this year.”
Caesars added that it would become an official sports betting partner of Keeneland and The Red Mile and will offer on-track hospitality and VIP experiences at both racetracks to its Caesars Rewards members.
Up to 27 Mobile Sportsbooks Possible
Kentucky is lined up to become the 39th US state with legal sports betting once legislation that lawmakers passed and Governor Andy Beshear signed in March takes effect.
Under state statute, the legislation takes effect within 90 days of the Kentucky General Assembly adjourning for the year. The legislature adjourned sine die on March 30, so HB 551 — the bill to authorize sports betting — will become law on June 28.
HB 551 also calls for the KHRC to promulgate rules governing sports betting within six months of the effective date. That means sports betting must launch by September 30, but a launch on that date is highly unlikely since it would preclude any wagers for the first three weeks of the NFL season.
The bill allows the state’s seven horse racetracks, plus two other facilities, to operate up to three skins for mobile sports betting. Besides Keeneland and The Red Mile, the other five tracks are:
- Churchill Downs, in Louisville
- Ellis Park, in Henderson
- Kentucky Downs, in Franklin
- Oak Grove, in Oak Grove
- Turfway Park, in Florence
An eighth horse racetrack currently under construction in Ashland, Revolutionary Racing Kentucky, is also authorized to offer sports betting. So is Derby City Gaming, a historical horse racing venue on the former Louisville Downs racetrack site.
Retail sports betting will be taxed at 9.75%, while online wagers will be taxed at 14.25%.
Last week, Caesars announced a partnership to provide sports betting in Maine with three of the four federally recognized tribes in that state. Like Kentucky, Caesars was the first operator to announce it would launch operations in a new state.
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