Regulators to Approve Kentucky Sports Wagering Licenses Next Week

Kentuckians will know which retail locations and online sportsbooks will be in the state next week.

According to a press release from the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet, that’s when the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will vote on the sports betting license applications. The results of the votes will determine which sports betting operators will be available at next month’s Kentucky sports betting launch.

The KHRC will meet on Aug. 22 at 1:30 p.m. to vote on retail and online sports betting licenses.

First Kentucky Sports Betting Applications Have Been Filed

A week ago, the commission disclosed the first batch of applications filed by potential Kentucky sports betting operators. Seven retail locations and seven online operators applied.

The seven retail facilities are:

  • Churchill Downs
  • Cumberland Run
  • Ellis Park Racing & Gaming
  • Oak Grove Racing & Gaming
  • Red Mile Racing & Gaming
  • Sandy’s Racing & Gaming
  • Turfway Park Racing & Gaming

The seven online operators are:

  • Bet365
  • BetMGM
  • Caesars Sportsbook
  • Circa
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • Penn Entertainment (ESPN Bet)

Kentucky’s sports betting law requires online sportsbooks to partner with one of the state’s nine horse racing tracks.

Of the seven retail applicants, four are owned by Churchill Downs Inc. The Louisville-based gaming giant owns Turfway Park, Ellis Park, Oak Grove, and Churchill Downs.

Keeneland Association Inc. owns Red Mile, Revolutionary Racing owns Sandy’s, and Cumberland Run is privately owned.

Caesars was the first to gain Kentucky access after announcing a partnership with Red Mile in May. Then, FanDuel agreed to terms on a deal with Churchill Downs.

More recently, BetMGM partnered with Sandy’s, DraftKings and Circa made a deal with Cumberland Run, and ESPN Bet also agreed to terms with Cumberland Run. The ESPN Bet KY promo code will be live soon for all residents.

Bet365 still hasn’t announced which operator it has a market access partnership with.

Countdown to Retail Launch

Assuming no delays, retail sportsbooks can begin taking wagers on Sept. 7. In just three weeks, Kentuckians should be able to start placing wagers on their favorite teams.

Gov. Andy Beshear said in the press release.

The countdown is on. We are just three weeks away from sports wagering in Kentucky. 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.”

When Can Kentucky Bettors Deposit With Online Sportsbooks?

The Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet released an updated timeline for the sports betting launch. They are still on track to launch retail in time for the 2023 NFL season.

Online betting starts three weeks later on Sept. 28. However, the KHRC is allowing online bettors to start funding their accounts when retail sports betting launches.

Approved online sportsbooks can start taking deposits on Sept. 7. But they can’t allow those deposits to be wagered for another three weeks.

Here are the key dates remaining:

  • Aug. 22: KHRC will vote on license applications
  • Aug. 28: Kentuckians can pre-register accounts with approved online sportsbooks
  • Sept. 7: Retail sportsbooks can begin taking sports wagers and online bettors can begin depositing to their accounts
  • Sept. 28: Online sportsbooks can start accepting wagers

Kentucky regulators cited the success of the tiered implementation in other states as the reason for their timeline.

“The KHRC is excited to open sports wagering and is working efficiently to meet the necessary deadlines,” said Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Chairman Jonathan Rabinowitz. “This is a careful process dedicated to the wagering integrity and protecting bettors in the state of Kentucky.”

About the Author
Steve Schult

Steve Schult

Sports Betting Writer
Steve Schult is a veteran of the gambling industry with more than a decade of experience covering the space. After earning his journalism degree from Marist College, the New York native began covering high-stakes poker tournaments and the U.S. gambling industry for various outlets. Following stints as a writer for Card Player Media, Bluff Magazine, and the World Series of Poker, Schult joined Catena Media and has managed coverage for a handful of states.

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