Countdown to Kickoff: Seven Apply for Kentucky Online Sports Betting License

Touchdown for Kentucky punters as NFL season syncs with betting launch.
Countdown to Kickoff: Seven Apply for Kentucky Online Sports Betting License
August 14, 2023

The wait is almost over for Kentucky residents as they will be able to place bets legally at retail locations across the country on September 7, 2023, while Kentucky online sports betting will launch three weeks later.

The timing is perfect for the sports bettors as the brand-new NFL Season 2023/24 is set to launch on September 7 as well.

“The countdown is on. Kentuckians can plan to place their first sports wagers, at a retail location, in just 28 days,” said Governor of the State Andy Beshear.

He also stated that seven sportsbook operators have submitted an application for a license in Kentucky. The full list of brands who are hoping to start their business in the Bluegrass State this September:

  • Bet365
  • BetMGM
  • Caesars
  • Circa
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • Penn Sports Interactive
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Earlier this month BetMGM announced their partnership with Revolutionary Racing Kentucky (RRKY), allowing them to open a massive retail sportsbook at Sandy’s Racing & Gaming in Ashland on September 7.

Caesars also came up with concrete plans to enter the Kentucky market, partnering with Keeneland and Red Mile Gaming & Racing in Lexington.

“Keeneland and Red Mile are iconic horse racing venues with an important legacy in the state of Kentucky,” said Eric Hession, President of Caesars. “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 Kentucky Horse Racing Commission as we prepare to launch later this year.”

DraftKings and FanDuel applying for the Kentucky license hardly come as a surprise, given the fact they are one of the most regulated sportsbooks in the US currently.

Kentucky is the third state this year to legalize sports betting, and if they are to follow their launches in Ohio and Massachusetts, there is a good chance sports bettors will have a couple of generous pre-registration offers at their disposal. Needless to say, there are going to be standard welcome packages available for Kentuckians when the sports betting officially launches in September.

Penn Sports Interactive is currently in the transition process from Barstool Sportsbook with a plan to launch a brand new platform ESPN Bet in November. It remains unclear if they are going to launch under the old name in Kentucky (if they obtain the license) or delay it until ESPN Bet goes live.

Even though they are regarded as one of the most popular sportsbooks in the world, Bet365 has failed to make a significant impact in the US so far. Bet365 currently operates in New Jersey, Colorado, Ohio, Iowa, and Virginia.

Circa’s application comes as a slight surprise, given the fact they are one of the lesser known real money US sportsbooks. They are licensed to operate online in Nevada, Colorado and Iowa, but planning to expand to Illinois as well. Kentucky could be their potential fifth launch.

All of the above mentioned applications are reviewed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission members and the final decisions on issuing the license will be made at a full commission meeting on August 22, 2023.

“The KHRC is excited to open sports wagering and is working efficiently to meet the necessary deadlines,” said KHRC Chairman Jonathan Rabinowitz. “This is a careful process dedicated to wagering integrity and protecting bettors in the state of Kentucky.”

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