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Kentucky sports betting temporary licenses were unanimously approved today for nine sportsbooks and seven licensed horse racetracks, keeping the Commonwealth on schedule for a retail and mobile launch next month. 

The nine sportsbook licenses approved on Tuesday by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) will give all nine service providers mobile access in the Bluegrass State through partnerships with Kentucky tracks. Eight sportsbook companies have announced mobile partnerships so far. Sportsbooks must be tethered to a Kentucky track to operate sports betting in the Bluegrass State.

A surprise addition to the Kentucky sports betting market is Fanatics, which the KHRC has approved for temporary licensing in partnership with Oak Grove harness track. Fanatics intends to operate mobile for Oak Grove, a Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) property licensed for racing in west Kentucky. 

The remaining sportsbooks approved for temporary licensing by KHRC — and their track partnerships — include: 

  • Caesars Sportsbook partnered with The Red Mile for retail and mobile
  • Kambi partnered with CDI properties Ellis Park, Turfway Park, and Oak Grove for retail only
  • Betfair/FanDuel partnered with Turfway Park for mobile
  • DraftKings, partnered with Cumberland Run harness track in Corbin for retail and both Cumberland Run and The Mint (ECL) Cumberland (Williamsburg) for mobile
  • Penn Sports Interactive (ESPN BET) partnered with Ellis Park for mobile
  • BetMGM partnered with Sandy’s Gaming and Racing in Ashland for retail and mobile
  • Circa partnered with Cumberland Run for mobile
  • Bet365 partnered with Sandy’s Gaming and Racing for mobile

All licenses are conditioned on full suitability compliance, responsiveness to KHRC requests, and completion of supporting documentation, the KHRC announced today. Permanent, annual sports betting licensing for sportsbooks and tracks will follow with KHRC approval.

Seven Horse Tracks Approved as Sports Betting Operators

Temporary sports betting operator licenses for seven of the state’s nine horse tracks were also approved by KHRC today. Those approvals allow sportsbooks to operate in the state through their select partners. 

– Churchill Downs in Louisville (Retail sportsbooks will also be located at CDI properties Ellis Park, Oak Grove,  and Turfway Park, and at CDI simulcasting facilities)

– Cumberland Run in Corbin through ECL LLC

– Ellis Park in Henderson

– The Red Mile (Lexington Trots Breeders Association LLC)

– Sandy’s Gaming and Racing (Revolutionary Racing LLC)

– Turfway Park in Florence

– Oak Grove Gaming and Racing 

Keeneland Race Course — a historic thoroughbred track in Lexington that hosted the 2022 Breeders’ Cup — has yet to announce if it will have a retail sportsbook on its grounds. The iconic track announced earlier this year that it will partner with Caesars Sportsbook for mobile sports betting along with The Red Mile, also located in Lexington. 

Announcements are also still pending for a retail and/or mobile sports betting partnership with Kentucky Downs, an ECL-owned and operated thoroughbred track located in Franklin. ECL Entertainment owns and operates The Mint Gaming, which operates retail gaming and simulcasting tied to Cumberland Run and Kentucky Downs. ECL has not yet announced a sportsbook partnership for Kentucky Downs or The Mint Gaming simulcast property located in Bowling Green.

Kentucky Sports Bettors Can Pre-Register for Mobile Account Starting Aug. 28

On Aug. 10, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Kentucky had received seven sports wagering license applications and seven sportsbook applications to date — with retail launch less than three weeks away. 

“The countdown is on,” said Beshear. “We are ready to deliver the quality entertainment experience Kentuckians asked for, while bringing money to the state to support pensions and free up funds that can be used to build a better Kentucky.”

KHRC Chair Jonathan Rabinowitz started today’s KHRC meeting by saying the agency is “excited” to open a well-regulated sports wagering program in September. 

“We are dedicated to protecting bettors in the state of Kentucky,” said Rabinowitz. 

Kentuckians can pre-register a sports betting account with approved mobile operators beginning Monday, Aug. 28 at 6 a.m. ET, the KHRC has reported. Retail betting will open on Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. ET at licensed facilities, with bettors able to deposit money into pre-registered mobile accounts starting at 6 a.m. ET on Sept. 7. 

Mobile wagering will open at 6 a.m. ET on Sept. 28. Users should sign up ahead of launch to receive KY sports betting bonuses. All the best sportsbooks will be offering opportunities for welcome offers; BetMGM KY promo code, ESPN Bet Kentucky promo code, and FanDuel KY bonus code, just to name a few.

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Legislative Writer
Based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region, Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, Hanchett has been known to watch UK. basketball from time to time.

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