Legal Sports Betting Arrives in Kentucky with Launch of Retail Sportsbooks

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On the evening of Sept. 7, the reigning champions of the most popular sport in the US will kick off what figures to be another hotly-contested season. And for the first time in the history of Kentucky, residents of the Bluegrass State will be able to legally wager on the game’s outcome.

The first phase in the anticipated launch of Kentucky sports betting went live on Sept. 7 when wagering at retail sportsbooks launched at 10 a.m. ET. When Gov. Andy Beshear placed the state’s first ceremonial sports wager at Churchill Downs Race & Sports Book Thursday, Kentucky became the 35th state to have live, legal sports betting.

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“I want to thank Churchill Downs for all of their great work in making today possible along with all of our other tracks that have worked hard to be open in record time,” Beshear said after placing his ceremonial wager. “Our horse industry is phenomenal. It is part of who were are and it is also an enormous industry that drives our economy. I could not be more proud of the work that Churchill and Kentucky Downs, and The Red Mile and all our other tracks put in, the number of people they employ and now, helping us get to this historic moment. Happy sports betting day in the Commonwealth of Kentucky!”

The launch of in-person wagering in Kentucky comes just six months after Beshear signed House Bill 551, which legalized sports betting in the state after years of stymied efforts. 

Hitting that tight timeframe allows Kentucky residents to be able to bet on the start of the 2023 NFL season with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Detroit Lions on Thursday Night Football. Bluegrass bettors can also wager on the majority of the college football schedule, including the home opener for the University of Louisville against in-state foe Murray State at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday. The University of Kentucky hosts Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 9 at 3 p.m. ET.

Where Can I Bet on Sports in Kentucky?

A total of six Kentucky racetracks and their satellite facilities will be taking bets on Sept. 7. Those brick-and-mortar locations are:

🏦Live Kentucky Retail Sportsbooks📍Address
🏦Churchill Downs Race & Sports Book 📍700 Central Avenue
Louisville, KY 40208
🏦Derby City Gaming & Hotel
📍Derby City Gaming
4520 Poplar Level Road
Louisville, KY 40213
🏦Derby City Gaming Downtown📍140 S 4th Street, Louisville, KY 40202
🏦The Red Mile
📍1200 Red Mile Rd, Lexington, KY 40504
🏦Ellis Park Racing & Gaming
📍3300 Highway 41 N, Henderson, Kentucky 42420
🏦Turfway Park Racing & Gaming📍Turfway Park 7500 Turfway Rd. Florence, KY 41042
🏦Newport Racing & Gaming📍Newport Racing & Gaming
1723 Monmouth St.
Newport, KY 41071
🏦Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel📍777 Winners Way
Oak Grove, KY 42262
🏦The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland📍244 Penny Lane, Williamsburg, KY 40769
🏦The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland Run📍777 Winners Lane, Corbin, KY 40701
🏦Sandy's Racing and Gaming📍10699 US-60, Ashland, KY 41102

Churchill Downs Inc. owns six of the properties that will begin accepting in-person sports wagers, including Churchill Downs Race & Sports Book at its flagship track. The Churchill Downs Race & Sports Book hosted a grand opening ceremony at 9:45 a.m. ET, and Gov. Beshear placed the state’s first ceremonial sports wager, making a $20 parlay bet for both UK and U of L football to go over on wins, and for rival Duke going under.

The Churchill Downs Race & Sports Book will be open to the general public starting at 11 a.m. ET and betting will continue until 11:30 p.m.

Churchill-owned Turfway Park will open for sports betting at 10:15 a.m. ET. Wagers will be accepted during regular business hours.

The honorary first bet in Southeastern Kentucky on sports will be placed at The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland in Williamsburg at 12:30 p.m. ET and at Cumberland Run in Corbin at 1:30 p.m. ET. Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison, Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus, and the Chamber’s Bruce Carpenter will be making the honorary first sports bets.

How to Bet In-Person in Kentucky 

Betting at a retail sportsbook does take more effort than using sports betting apps, which allow you to bet from anywhere in any jurisdiction where it is legal. Wagering at a brick-and-mortar location does offer more of an entertainment experience, however, as most retail sportsbooks also offer large format video screens or various televisions to watch live sports on. 

At a retail sportsbook, you can place your bets at a kiosk or over the counter if they have a partner casino. When you’re ready to wager, you can use a sports betting kiosk to make everything from straight bets to parlays and futures. Available sports include football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, golf, and more.

In a hurry? In Kentucky, each of CDI’s Historical Racing Machine venues will implement a “Bet & Jet” feature that will offer guests designated parking spaces for 15 minutes in order to quickly and easily place their in-person sports wager.

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Types of Bets You Can Make in Kentucky

The types of wagers offered by Kentucky sports betting licensees are defined in the sports wagering administrative regulations. They include:

  • Straight bets;
  • Parlays;
  • Single game bets;
  • Teaser bets;
  • Over-under bets;
  • Money line bets;
  • Pools;
  • In-game wagering;
  • In-play bets;
  • Proposition bets

What is the Minimum Age to Bet in Kentucky?

That depends on which sportsbook you visit. Kentucky will allow legal sports betting starting at the age of 18 for retail and mobile sportsbooks. However, several sportsbooks have opted to keep the sports betting age threshold at 21. 

The Churchill Downs Race & Sports Book will allow guests at least 18-years-old to wager and enter. The Red Mile, which is in partnership with Keeneland and Caesars, are only allowing guests 21 or older to enter and wager.

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Online Kentucky Betting Goes Live Sept. 28; Claim Pre-Launch Offers Now

Kentucky is set to go live with legal online sports betting on Sept. 28 with 8 mobile sportsbooks approved to launch. The sportsbooks licensed to operate a mobile sports wagering application starting Sept. 28 are:

  • BetMGM
  • Bet365
  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • Caesars
  • Circa
  • Fanatics
  • Penn Sports Interactive

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About the Author
Alicia Hughes

Alicia Hughes

Senior Writer
Alicia Hughes is a senior writer and award-winning horse racing journalist at Gaming Today. She previously served as a digital content editor for TVG and racing editor for The Blood-Horse following 12 years at the Lexington Herald-Leader. A graduate of Pace University in New York and a diehard New Jersey Devils fan, Hughes is a past president of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association.

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