The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) recently revealed that seven horse tracks and seven online gambling operators have submitted applications for licenses, setting the stage for the highly anticipated sports betting launch.
September 7 Marks Retail Launch, Online Platforms Follow on September 28
The countdown is on, with the KHRC targeting September 7, coinciding with the kick-off of the NFL season, for retail sportsbooks to commence operations. Online platforms are expected to follow suit on September 28, providing a comprehensive betting experience for Kentuckians.
Gov. Andy Beshear expressed his enthusiasm in a recent press conference, stating: “Bringing sports wagering to the state not only gives Kentuckians a much-anticipated new form of entertainment, but also brings money to the state to support pensions, freeing up money that can be used to build a better Kentucky through the funding of education, economic development, disaster recovery, and other necessary projects, like providing cleaner water, building roads, and high-speed internet.”
The KHRC will convene on August 22 to review the license applications, considering both retail and digital options. The new state wagering law permits up to three digital partners for each of the nine eligible tracks.
Kentucky’s License Applications Draw Leading Online Operators
Among the prominent online operators that applied for licenses are Bet365, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, Circa Sports, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Penn Sports Interactive. This landscape showcases some of the biggest players in the industry, each vying to establish a foothold in the Kentucky market.
While Penn Sports Interactive aims to launch its new ESPN Bet platform in November, some uncertainty remains about whether it will debut under the Barstool banner in September or wait until the ESPN BET platform goes live.
Seven of the nine licensed racetracks in Kentucky have submitted applications to open retail sportsbooks at satellite locations, expanding the accessibility of sports betting to more Kentuckians. The KHRC’s diligent process aims to ensure wagering integrity and protect bettors throughout the state.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision to lift the federal ban on sports betting, Kentucky’s legal process for the sports betting launch in the state was completed in April, allowing operators and suppliers to establish strategic partnerships ahead of the launch.
The decision to coincide with the NFL season aims to maximize public interest, and the industry is expected to create jobs and contribute significantly to the state’s economy, with an anticipated annual tax revenue of $23 million. Responsible gambling measures are also being implemented to ensure safe participation.