Kentucky sees over $4.5M wagered on sports during first two weeks of retail betting

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has shared the early results of in-person sports betting in the state, with over $4.5 million wagered in the first two weekends since its launch. This strong start comes just two weeks after in-person sports wagering was introduced and one week before the launch of mobile betting.

Gov. Beshear expressed his optimism about the new activity, stating: “This is a strong number that certainly reflects the excitement Kentuckians have for the opening of sports wagering. With college football and the NFL season underway, plus the launch of mobile wagering, we expect that number will grow significantly.”

Retail sports betting facilities opened across the Bluegrass State on Sept. 7, with Beshear placing the first sports bet at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, in time for the NFL regular season. Opening day for sports betting came on the same day as the NFL’s first game of the season

It has taken many years to get here, but sports wagering is finally a reality in Kentucky. This is a win-win for Kentuckians, who can enjoy a quality entertainment experience and benefit from funds staying right here in our state to help us build a better Kentucky,” added Gov. Beshear.

Kentuckians will be able to begin placing wagers on their mobile phones starting on Thursday, September 28. In preparation for the mobile launch, users can create accounts and deposit money into their preferred, licensed mobile wagering applications.

Beshear revealed that mobile partners have reported that over 60,000 mobile accounts are already pre-registered in the state, although not all application licensees have reported yet.

The following mobile applications, licensed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), will operate in Kentucky and launch their applications on opening day:

  • Bet365
  • BetMGM
  • Barstool Sportsbook
  • Caesars
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • Fanatics

Circa Sports Kentucky, also licensed by KHRC, plans to launch a mobile application later this year.

The Sports Wagering Advisory Council, meeting earlier on Thursday, recommended additions to the sports wagering catalog, which is the list of approved sporting events and sports governing bodies for wagering in Kentucky.

The additions include Formula One Racing, NRL (National Rugby League Australia), PFL (Professional Fighters League MMA), Bellator (MMA), and Universal Tennis League.

Additionally, the council recommended criteria for selecting independent testing laboratories for technical components of sports wagering systems. These recommendations await ratification by the full commission at their next scheduled meeting.

Kentucky is gearing up for a comprehensive sports wagering experience with a tiered implementation approach, involving testing of policies and procedures before the full rollout including mobile applications.

House Bill 551 established a new excise tax on sports wagering, with a 9.75% tax rate on adjusted gross revenues from wagers made at a licensed facility and a 14.25% rate on online or smartphone wagers.

Sports wagering is anticipated to boost the state’s revenue by an estimated $23 million annually upon full implementation. A significant portion of this revenue will support the oversight of sports wagering and contribute to the Kentucky permanent pension fund.

Additionally, 2.5% will go to the Problem Gambling Assistance Fund to promote safe gambling practices and provide support for individuals with gambling-related issues.