More Kentucky Sports Betting Interest Near Indiana, Ohio Borders: GeoComply Data

Legal Kentucky sports betting is expected to yield between $150 million and $200 million in taxable revenue each year — most of that from online sportsbooks. Those online bets can be placed anywhere statewide through an account with a licensed sportsbook starting Sept. 28.

So where will most Kentucky sports bettors be tapping their apps? 

Most Kentucky online sports betting engagement was concentrated in the Louisville metro area and in northern Kentucky during March Madness — the most recent major sports betting month of the year. This is according to mapped March 2023 sports betting geolocation data provided to Gaming Today by compliance firm GeoComply.

March Madness Betting Engagement Centered in the North

The data is just a snapshot of Kentucky sports betting activity on the border of two legal states (Indiana and Ohio) at a time when Kentucky had yet to legalize. But it could be an indicator of things to come. 

Mapped data from GeoComply — based on 1.28 million Kentucky sportsbook geolocation checks during the 2023 March Madness tournament — shows more activity (including account registration, logging in, or placing a bet) centered in those two areas than any other from March 1 to 28. 

Mapped data from GeoComply based on 1.28 million Kentucky sportsbook geolocation checks.

Nearly 80% of Kentucky Checks Near Borders of Indiana, Ohio

Overall, 79.6 percent of the Kentucky geolocation checks processed by GeoComply from March 1 to 28 were near the borders of Indiana and Ohio, according to GeoComply. 

Ohio was slightly ahead at 41 percent.

Other geolocation clusters were mapped by GeoComply for the same period near the borders of Illinois, Tennessee, and West Virginia, and in Central Kentucky, with scattered activity statewide. But none of that activity rivaled engagement near Indiana and Ohio, GeoComply Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs John Pappas told Gaming Today on Wednesday. 

Ohio a Hot Spot for Kentucky Bettors

Ohio has been a popular market for Kentucky sports bettors since the Buckeye State launched mobile and retail sports betting in January. Data mapped by GeoComply during January shows 2,042 unique sportsbook accounts crossed the border from Kentucky into Ohio approximately 7,700 times. 

Data mapped by GeoComply that month shows 2,042 unique sportsbook accounts crossed the border from Kentucky into Ohio approximately 7,700 times. 

“Ohio is profiting from Kentuckians who prefer to wager in a legal market rather than the black market,” GeoComply reported in January. 

Kentucky will have some impact on sports betting revenue in Ohio and Indiana, but Pappas doesn’t see a Kentucky launch as a make-or-break moment for those states. 

Pappas told Gaming Today he expects people will bet on both sides of the border, wherever they may be at any given time. 

“People are betting where they are,” Pappas said. “In other states where you have a state that’s live and a new state comes on that’s a neighboring state, we haven’t seen a tremendous amount of cannibalization.

“We definitely know that people are traveling from Kentucky into Ohio specifically to place bets — the data seems to support that. But what we see a lot more of is people, anywhere within the state (of Kentucky), looking at their phones, looking at their apps, and not being able to bet, whether they are on the border or in the middle of the state.” 

Kentucky Is a Key State to Watch

Kentucky’s sports betting market is definitely one to watch in Q3 and Q4 of 2023.

Flutter Entertainment (FanDuel) announced during its 2023 interim earnings call on Wednesday that the group is counting on Kentucky specifically to meet revenue projections ($120 to $240 million adjusted EBITDA) for the remainder of the year. 

“This (revenue projection) assumes we launch online in Kentucky ahead of the NFL season and invest in line with more recent state launches,” according to the group’s interim financial statement.

There’s good reason for that optimism. According to Pappas, GeoComply data shows that there is interest in betting in Kentucky. Next month’s Kentucky sports betting launch will give sports bettors in the Commonwealth betting options that they have been missing for a long time.

“There are already tens of thousands of Kentuckians that have apps downloaded on their phones. They’re ready to turn them on and start betting. That’s what our data shows,” said Pappas. 

Kentucky Sports Betting License Applicants Announced

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) announced Thursday it has received sports betting license applications from seven of the state’s nine licensed racetracks and seven mobile operators, including:


  • Churchill Downs, Louisville
  • Cumberland Run, Corbin
  • Ellis Park, Henderson
  • Oak Grove Gaming and Racing, Oak Grove
  • The Red Mile, Lexington
  • Sandy’s Gaming and Racing, coming soon to Ashland
  • Turfway Park, Florence

Mobile Operators

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

“Licensing applications do not guarantee licensure,” the KHRC stated in a press release today. “Applications are being reviewed by KHRC staff and will be voted on at a meeting of the full commission Aug. 22.

“The KHRC is also in the process of reviewing licensing applications for key employees.”

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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