Kentucky Sports Betting

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Legal sports betting in Kentucky won’t happen in 2022. A bill to allow both in-person and online sportsbooks tied to horse tracks advanced to the state Senate but a vote never came.

Let’s break down the sports betting situation in Kentucky as it stands now.

Kentucky Sports Betting Recent Updates

Recent developments have put Kentucky sports betting back on the front burner in 2022 when it comes to legalization efforts.

Top Sports Betting Sites In Kentucky

It’s tough to determine which sports betting sites are likely to launch in Kentucky given the non-starters for sports betting legislation in recent history. That said, we can speculate about upcoming sportsbooks based on the presence of sports betting operations in surrounding states.

Some of the most likely sportsbooks to come to Kentucky include:

  • DraftKings, which is well known as one of the most popular and versatile sports betting platforms in the industry. It already offers daily fantasy sports to Kentucky residents and it comes with fantastic market depth and variety, an excellent opening bonus, and competitive odds for all American professional sports.
  • BetMGM, which is also expanding throughout the US. This up-and-coming sportsbook offers a quality loyalty program, phenomenal market depth and variety, and ongoing promotions to keep things interesting for experienced sports bettors. On top of that, BetMGM also offers great live betting and a stellar customer support service, making it a great choice for newcomers to sports betting overall.
  • FanDuel, a major competitor to DraftKings and a sportsbook with a generous opening bonus in the form of a $1000 risk-free bet. FanDuel offers a streamlined user interface, ongoing promotions, and excellent live betting for sports wagerers who like to put their money down in the middle of the action. FanDuel has recently been expanding quite aggressively.
  • TwinSpires, which is already active in Kentucky since it offers horserace wagering. TwinSpires also provides other sports betting activities in certain states, so we wouldn’t be surprised if this betting platform expanded its operations in Kentucky sooner rather than later. In addition, many Kentucky residents may already have TwinSpires accounts, so starting sports betting on this platform will be quick and easy in comparison to registering for a completely new app.

Remember that any future sports betting industry will need to individually investigate and license any sportsbook that becomes legal. Because of this, the Kentucky sportsbook list could change heavily in the next few years. Check this page often to see if there are any updates or to determine whether your favorite sportsbook will make the hop across state borders to the Bluegrass State.

Kentucky Legal Sportsbooks

Illegal sportsbooks are currently available in Kentucky, but it’s never a good idea to try these offshore betting sites. Why? Simply put:

  • They always have subpar digital security, which can compromise your funds or personal information
  • They never have good betting odds, so any betting action you do get is likely to be subpar or unprofitable
  • They are not answerable to any organization. Nothing stops offshore betting sites from taking your funds or personal information and closing your account or simply ignoring any messages you send

In contrast, legal and licensed sportsbooks in Kentucky will have good digital security, be overseen by at least one regulatory body, and have fantastic betting odds derived from official sports league data.

Kentucky Sports Betting Revenue

At the moment, Kentucky doesn’t have any sports betting revenue to speak of. That said, Illinois borders Kentucky and sees regular sports betting profits of well over $20 million per month despite the state’s in-person registration requirement.

This indicates that Kentucky would be home to a booming sports betting market very quickly if the state legislature manages to pass a bill soon.

In addition, we don’t have solid numbers as to how much revenue the state government receives from historical horseracing. But this number is likely well into the millions of dollars. No doubt the Kentucky state government knows the revenue they are giving up by ignoring the potential of a legal sports betting market.

How Kentucky Compares To Other States

Kentucky is surrounded by many other states with either fully-fledged sports betting industries or state governments that are taking more solid steps toward legalization.

For example, Ohio just announced legal sports betting in both retail and online contexts. Meanwhile, states like Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, Indiana, and Illinois offer either both online and in-person sports betting or only online sports betting for their residents.

In this light, Kentucky compares poorly to many other states in its geographic region. With luck, this will inspire the state government to pass sports betting legislation in the near future.

Kentucky Betting Successes And Failures

Let’s take a closer look at how Kentucky has succeeded and failed in the arena of sports betting and online gambling.

Kentucky Sports Betting Success

There haven’t been any major successes in terms of sports betting for Kentucky. That said, Kentucky does have a number of major champions for sports betting in the state legislature.

Furthermore, the state’s historical sports betting for horse races means that the state legislature already has a springboard to jump off when convincing those who are on the fence. In all likelihood, once the state legislature convenes in January 2022, sports betting will be at the top of the list for topics to be discussed.

Even better, some mobile apps or daily fantasy sports platforms will already be operational in Kentucky should sports wagering be legalized. In theory, this may allow for a very rapid launch of the mobile sports betting scene even if retail sportsbooks take some time to get up and running.

Where Could Kentucky Improve Online Gambling?

Naturally, Kentucky could improve its online gambling arena by legalizing sports betting, then potentially legalizing other gaming activities like online casino games and online poker. Since the state already has legal online horse race wagering, there seems to be little reason to limit gaming activities to one or two types.

Legalization Effort In Kentucky

The sports wagering legalization effort in Kentucky has largely been spearheaded by Rep. Adam Koenig, who has used the precedent of historical horse racing to point out the importance of legal sports betting in the state.  

The Kentucky House of Representatives voted 58-30 in favor of House Bill 606, a bill sponsored by Koenig, on March 18, 2022. It marked the first time for a Kentucky sports betting bill to move beyond the state House or Senate. The legislation received unanimous approval from a Kentucky House committee on March 15.

HB 606 will now proceed to the Kentucky Senate. Sports betting in the Bluegrass State could launch by the middle of this summer should the bill become law.

Timeline of Kentucky Sports Betting

  • March 2022 – The Kentucky House of Representatives voted 58-30 in favor of House Bill 606. 
  • March 2022 — House Bill 606 received unanimous approval in mid-March from a Kentucky House committee, a possible sign that sportsbooks will be legalized here in 2022.
  • February 2020 – Rep. Adam Koenig introduces HB 137 to attempt to legalize sports betting
  • January 9, 2021 – HB 241 is introduced but dies in committee, so sports betting is once more not legalized

Kentucky Teams

Kentucky isn’t home to any major sports leagues or teams, but that doesn’t mean its residents don’t have their favorites.

Kentucky Professional Sports Teams

In Kentucky, most people like to support either the Cincinnati Bengals or the Tennessee Titans, both of which are NFL teams. You can rest assured that any legal sportsbooks will include betting odds for both of these teams among their diverse betting markets.

NBA betting is also likely to be a hit. Kentucky residents like to bet on the Indiana Pacers and the Memphis Grizzlies. On the baseball side of things, the Cincinnati Reds are the closest major team to Kentucky, and many Kentucky residents who live near Covington are likely to be major fans.

Kentucky College Sports Teams

Historically, states have been split in terms of whether they offer college sports betting for in-state teams. No doubt Kentucky residents will hope for the ability to support their favorite teams by betting on them.

Kentucky basketball and football fans enjoy supporting teams from the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky, both of which field teams in those sports.  

Other Sports To Bet On In Kentucky

Aside from major American sports like baseball, basketball, and football, Kentucky residents aren’t typically interested in betting on other sports. International sporting markets will likely still be available from any legal sportsbooks that crop up after legalization.

Expect betting markets for things like international soccer, rugby, cricket, Australian rules football, and so on. Most sportsbooks will also probably offer betting markets for more niche or specialized American sports like PGA Tour events, NASCAR races, darts, and so on.

How To Place A Bet In Kentucky

Placing a bet in Kentucky will likely be quick and easy, especially once legal sportsbooks launch. Players will need to:

  1. Download the sportsbook of their choice. Most legal sportsbooks should be available for both iOS and Android devices
  2. Register for a sports betting account. Registration should be entirely remote, as Kentucky is unlikely to require in-person registration with a partnered casino or horse racetrack for its hypothetical sports betting industry
  3. Fund their accounts using credit or debit card transfers and other methods
  4. Claim any opening bonuses, which may provide players with extra site credit or risk-free bets
  5. Place wagers on any betting lines they choose

In total, signing up for and placing a bet with a Kentucky mobile sportsbook should only take a handful of minutes from start to finish.

Kentucky Sports Betting FAQs

Is online sports betting legal in Kentucky?

No, and the earliest it could become legal is sometime in 2022.

How old will you have to be to bet online in Kentucky?

If sports betting is ever legalized in Kentucky, you’ll need to be 21 or older to place a wager.

Is it safe to use an online sportsbook app?

Yes, provided the sportsbook in question is legal and licensed for operation in your home state. Offshore sportsbook apps are never safe or worth your time and money.

Who will regulate online sportsbook apps in Kentucky?

Kentucky’s state government will appoint a special authoritative body or committee to oversee online sportsbook apps and other gambling enterprises if and when sports betting is legalized.

What sports and events will I be able to bet on in Kentucky?

Kentucky sportsbooks will likely allow sports bettors to wager on American professional sports, international sporting events, and potentially college sports depending on how legislation pans out.

Do I need to be a resident of Kentucky to bet online?

No. However, you will need to place bets within Kentucky state lines if you register for a Kentucky mobile sportsbook.

About the Author
Amber Hoffman

Amber Hoffman

Amber is the Managing Editor of Gaming Today. She writes for a variety of websites in diverse industries, including gaming and travel and is a fan of international football (not "soccer") and Gaelic sports.

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