LEXINGTON, Ky. — Every Kentuckian who ever wanted to place a legal sports bet on an NFL game without leaving their home state will have that opportunity in 59 days.
Kentucky legal sports betting will launch at horse racetracks and simulcasting facilities in the state on Sept. 7. That’s the same day as the 2023 NFL kickoff game and NCAA in-state football matchup between the University of Louisville and Murray State.
The Bluegrass State will launch mobile three weeks later on Sept. 28.
The launch announcement was made by Gov. Andy Beshear after he signed emergency sports betting regulations approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission at the Red Mile on Monday. The regulations set out both licensing and technical requirements for sports betting licensing of tracks and sportsbook operators.
Up to nine Kentucky horse racetracks across the state – including Churchill Downs in Louisville and both Keeneland and the Red Mile in Lexington – will be eligible to apply for sports betting licenses beginning Tuesday, July 11, said Beshear.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signs off on regulations to allow sports betting in the state starting on Sept. 7. (Photo by Rebecca Hanchett)
As Many as 12 Mobile Sportsbooks Possible, Says Lawmaker
Kentucky horse racetracks are allowed by law to partner with up to three “service providers” or sportsbooks to offer both retail and mobile sports betting in Kentucky. That means as many as 27 live Kentucky mobile sportsbooks by Sept. 28, but the actual number could be far less.
State Rep. Michael Meredith was the sponsor of Kentucky’s sports betting legislation (House Bill 551) signed into law by Beshear in March. He told Gaming Today on Monday that he anticipates 10 to 12 mobile sportsbooks once the rollout is complete.
State lawmakers had initially considered one mobile app per track. Meredith said the three-skin maximum was “proposed by the industry in some of the discussions we had” to make the market more competitive. Promotions and bonus offers are expected to roll out in tandem with licensing over the next two months.
Caesars and FanDuel Have Announced Track Partnerships
Two sportsbooks have already announced partnerships with Kentucky tracks, with more announcements expected soon.
Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky has partnered with Keeneland Race Course and the Red Mile for both online and retail sports betting, including plans for a permanent sportsbook at the Red Mile. FanDuel Kentucky has partnered with Churchill Downs Inc., which owns at least four of the state’s nine horse tracks. Those tracks include Churchill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby), Ellis Park in Henderson, Turfway Park in Florence, and Oak Grove racetrack near Fort Campbell.
CDI also owns several simulcasting facilities that will be eligible to offer retail sports betting at NFL kickoff pending licensing approval by the KHRC. Those facilities include Derby City Gaming in Louisville, and Newport Gaming & Racing in Northern Kentucky.
Beshear said the launch timeline will require the KHRC to work quickly. He thinks the agency is up to the challenge.
“The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has a long history of regulatory wagering in Kentucky, and I have all confidence in their ability to regulate sports wagering,” the governor said today.