Kentucky Sports Betting 2023: When Will Kentucky Sportsbooks Launch?

The Kentucky sports betting bill HB551 was signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear on March 31st, 2023. There is hope that this could mean many of the industry’s leading operators enter the market launching legal Kentucky sports betting sites. With this in mind, we’re taking a closer look at the industry and what Kentucky sports fans can expect in the coming months.

By Ciaran McEneaney
Fact Checked by Blake Weishaar

Kentucky Legalized Sports Betting at a Glance

⭐️ Where Are We With Kentucky Sports Betting?HB551 Signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear
📲 Expected Sportsbooks in KentuckyTop brands such as BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel
📆 Kentucky Sports Betting Expected Launch2023-2024

The latest attempt to legalize Kentucky sports betting came in February 2023 when Rep. Michael Meredith introduced HB551 and was signed into law on March 31st, 2023. The legislation will allow the state’s nine horse racing tracks to launch retail sportsbooks and Kentucky sports betting sites under the regulation of the Kentucky Racing Commission. The bill has garnered enough support to pass the House and currently sits in the Senate. While we wait for legislation updates, check out the latest 2023 Kentucky Derby Odds before the big race on May 6th.

Kentucky Sports Betting Launch Updates March 2023

  • 📆 March 2023: HB551 was signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear.
  • 📆 March 2023: HB551 cleared the Senate chamber by a 25-12 vote.
  • 📆 March 2023: The House of Representatives committee approves HB551 and the bill is voted on by representatives. HB551 passes by a vote of 63-34 before moving onto the Senate where it is approved by a Senate committee.
  • 📆 February 2023: A new legislative session begins with the introduction of HB551, a KY sports betting bill sponsored by Rep. Michael Meredith. The bill is sent to a House committee for approval ahead of a House vote.
  • 📆 April 2022: The Kentucky legislative session closes before the Senate can vote on HB 606.
  • 📆 March 2022: Rep. Adam Koenig makes another attempt to legalize Kentucky sports betting sites with the introduction of HB 606. The House of Representatives passes the bill by a vote of 58-30. The Senate must vote on the bill by the end of the legislative session the following month.
  • 📆 2021: Another KY sports betting bill fails. However, this time it is due to the shortened legislative session as a result of the global pandemic.
  • 📆 2020: Rep. Adam Koenig once again files KY sports betting legislation this time with the support of Governor Andy Beshear. But once again, his bill fails to earn the support of lawmakers.
  • 📆 2019: The state’s lawmakers make their first move to legalize Kentucky sportsbooks as Rep. Adam Koenig introduces a KY sports betting bill which makes it out of committee. However, the bill fails to pass through the House of Representatives.
  • 📆 2018: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is unconstitutional. This paves the way for each state to introduce its own sports betting legislation.

Latest Kentucky Sports Betting News

Our expert team of veteran reporters constantly stay in touch with events so that we can bring you the latest developments in sports betting in Kentucky. As things move forward, you'll read about it here first.

Best Kentucky Sportsbooks Potentially Launching 2024

While KY sports betting has yet to launch, we can be sure that in the home of horse racing, there will be considerable interest in the local sports betting industry. The state will allow nine horse racing tracks to launch both retail and mobile Kentucky sports betting sites in partnership with major sports betting brands. As such we can expect to see the likes of BetMGM Kentucky sportsbook, Caesars Kentucky sportsbook, FanDuel Kentucky sportsbook, and DraftKings Kentucky sportsbook among others. 

Ranking the BEST Kentucky Sportsbook

With many of the leading brands in the industry expected to launch once Kentucky online sports betting is underway, we can easily see what each brand has to offer in neighboring states. This gives us an idea of which is likely to be the best Kentucky sportsbook. With this in mind, we’re going to pump with BetMGM Kentucky Sportsbook. 

If other states are anything to go by, BetMGM Kentucky sportsbook will have an incredible range of online sports betting Kentucky markets, great ongoing promotions for existing users, and top-of-the-line live streaming of major sporting events. 

What Sportsbooks are in Kentucky?

There are no Kentucky sportsbooks in operation within the state but that could change in the near future as lawmakers look to pass sports betting legislation. The most recent legislative motion proposes licenses for nine horse racing tracks to launch Kentucky online sports betting. The bill is being supported by the sports betting alliance group which backs the majority of sports betting legislative moves across the country. The group includes BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fanatics. This makes it highly likely that these brands will be among the first Kentucky sports betting sites to launch. 

Local racing heavyweight Churchill Downs has recently partnered with bet365 in the state of Pennsylvania following the closure of its TwinSpires sportsbook. We could see a similar deal agreed once online sports betting Kentucky is underway. 

How Many Sportsbooks are There in Kentucky?

There are no KY sportsbooks currently available. However, the most recent sports betting bill HB551 proposes that nine horse racing tracks be allowed to launch both retail sportsbooks and mobile KY sports betting apps. Each track will be allowed to partner with up to three operators meaning that we could see as many as 27 mobile sportsbooks in Kentucky.  

Sportsbooks Partnered with Kentucky Sports Teams

There are no major league professional sports teams based in the state of Kentucky and no sport betting operator isd partnered with any local sporting organization. In fact, the only major gambling company with a presence in the state is Churchill Downs. However, as of 2022, the company has closed its sports betting operations to focus on its horse wagering business. 

kentucky sports betting

Is Sports Betting Legal in Kentucky?

No, sports betting in Kentucky is not legal at present. However, there are other forms of gambling that are legal such as horse race wagering and video gaming terminals (VGTs). There are gaming facilities located throughout the state, but without traditional casino gaming options.

When Will Sports Betting Be Legal in Kentucky?

While it is not clear when sports betting and online gambling will go live, HB551 was signed into law on March 31st, 2023. Kentucky's nine horse racing tracks will be able to launch both retail and online sports betting. In neighboring Ohio, it took almost a year after legislation was passed before the first legal sports wagers were placed. Meanwhile, Indiana was much quicker as it took less than five months for the industry to launch once sports betting legislation was signed into law. It’s unclear how long it will be before we see sports betting sites in Kentucky go live. 

Can you Sports Bet in Kentucky?

No, you can not bet on sports in Kentucky as there are no forms of legal sports betting currently available in the state. Local gambling laws currently prohibit sports betting but this could change at some point in the very near future. 

What is the Legal Age to Bet in Kentucky?

You must be 21 to gamble in Kentucky for some gambling activities such as historical horse racing wagering. However, while there are no legal sports betting opportunities as of yet, the latest legislative moves have set the minimum age for sports betting at 18 years of age. This is in line with the local lottery’s minimum age for gambling and pari-mutuel horse race wagering. An attempt to increase the legal age for sports betting in Kentucky from 18 to 21 failed to garner enough support in the House prior to a vote on HB551. 

Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Kentucky?

No, online sports betting is not available in Kentucky. However, if the latest attempt to pass sports betting legislation is successful, nine licensed horse racing tracks would be allowed to partner with mobile sports betting providers to launch online betting sites in Kentucky. 

Kentucky Sports Betting Bill Explained

The latest sports betting legislation is House Bill HB551. This bill makes provisions for nine licensed racing tracks to launch both retail sportsbooks and Kentucky betting sites in partnership with established sports betting providers. License holders will be allowed to provide sports betting at off track betting (OTB) facilities. 

Kentucky Sports Betting Legislation Updates

HB551 is the latest legislative attempt to legalize sports betting in Kentucky. The bill was introduced by Rep. Michael Meredith in February of 2023. The bill was approved by a House committee and the House of Representatives voted to pass the bill. It was then approved by a Senate committee and passed by the Kentucky state Senate. On March 31st, 2023, Governor Andy Beshear signed HB551 into law.

Where Can I Bet on Sports in Kentucky?

You cannot wager on any sports in Kentucky right now. However, if the latest sports betting bill is approved, gamblers will be able to place bets at retail sportsbooks located at one of the state’s licensed horse racing tracks or their gaming facilities. Kentucky online sports betting will also be available at KY sportsbooks. 

How to Bet on Sports in Kentucky

You cannot bet on sports in Kentucky yet, but that could change in the very near future as sports betting legislation is currently awaiting a vote in the Senate. Right now, there are several gambling options available in the state including pari-mutuel horse race wagering and historical horse racing machines (HHRs). You can also buy tickets for the Kentucky State Lottery which offers several gaming options in retail outlets and online. 

Do I Need to Be a Kentucky Resident to Bet Online?

You do not need to be a Kentucky resident to gamble online within the state. However, you must be located within state lines to do so. You must also be the minimum legal gambling age required for your chosen gambling activity. This is 21 for historical horse racing machines, or 18 for the state lottery and pari-mutuel wagering on horse races. Proposed Kentucky online sports betting legislation sets the legal age for sports betting at 18 years. 

How KY Sports Betting Compares to Other Legal States

Since sports betting in Kentucky has not been legalized just yet, we can only surmise how the legal KY sports betting landscape will compare to its neighboring states. The hopes are that both retail sportsbooks and mobile sports betting apps will be legalized in the latest legislative move. This would put the local Kentucky sports betting industry on a par with many of its bordering states such as Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Illinois. However, the decision to set the legal sports betting age at 18 sets the Bluegrass state all out on its own and many of its neighbors have set their legal age for sports betting at 21. 

With no major league professional sports teams in the state, sports betting partnerships will be unlike any of those in neighboring states. Unlike its neighbors, and due to the fact that there are no casinos in the state, Kentucky will limit license holders to existing horse racing tracks. 

Who Regulates Kentucky Sports Gambling?

There is no regulator assigned for the KY sports betting industry as of yet. However, the latest sports betting bill proposes that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulates the market once launched. Previous attempts had suggested a new regulator be created or that the lottery regulate the market but those legislative moves failed to pass. 

Kentucky Sports Betting Licenses

There are no Kentucky sports betting licenses yet, but the latest KY sports betting bill makes provisions for nine sports betting licenses in the state. These would be tied to licensed horse racing tracks. The track operators can each partner with three Kentucky online sports betting providers. This means that we could see as many as 27 KY sports betting apps and brands in the state in the future. Retail sports betting licenses would be subject to an initial fee of $500,000 followed by an annual fee of $50,000. Meanwhile, online sports betting providers would have to pay $50,000 up front and $10,000 per year thereafter. 

Kentucky Sports Betting Revenue Projections 2024

When the latest sports betting bill was introduced in the House of Representatives, its sponsor Rep. Michael Meredith estimated that the industry could generate as much as $23 million in taxes for the state. This would come from an estimated sports betting handle of between $2.3 billion and $2.4 billion per year. 

Choosing the Best Kentucky Online Sportsbook

With so many potential Kentucky online sports betting apps set for launch once sports betting is approved, picking the right sportsbook could be more than a little confusing. However, to maximize your potential for profit and to ensure that you get the best experience possible, you should pay close attention to the following tips for choosing the best Kentucky online sportsbook. 

Read Reviews

Reviews are everything when it comes to picking out the good from the bad in the world of online sportsbooks. This is because users’ experiences can uncover all kinds of potential hiccups in your choice of sportsbook. Likewise, a user review may reveal some great aspects of the sportsbook that may not be apparent when taking it for a test drive. 

What Bets are Allowed?

Some sportsbooks may have limited offerings when it comes to sports wagers. It’s crucial that your choice of online sportsbook offers the complete range of betting types including live betting opportunities. Even though you may not intend to create same game parlays or live wagers at the outset, there will come a time in the future when you may want that option. So make sure that there is a good range of betting types allowed.

Odds Pricing

Odds can vary from sportsbook to sportsbook even for the exact same type of wager. This is where some KY sportsbooks may stand out from the crowd. Remember that even half a point difference in odds could make a significant difference to your potential winnings. This is particularly true for parlay wagers where better odds in one leg of your wager will impact your profitability on the following legs. This is why we recommend that you open several accounts with competing KY sportsbooks and compare odds pricing when placing wagers.

Welcome Bonus

The fabled welcome bonus is a great way to boost your potential profits or place a wager without investing any of your own cash. Welcome bonuses come in all shapes and forms and could be anything from a deposit bonus where the sportsbook matches your deposit amount to site credit. It’s important to read the terms and conditions of any welcome bonuses at KY sportsbooks as they will often have wagering requirements that you will need to fulfill to take full advantage of the offer.

User Experience

User experience can play a vital role in how quickly you can place a wager which is important for those time sensitive bets. Take a close look at navigation at KY online sportsbooks and see how they compare. Is it easy to find markets? Is there a search feature? Is the betting slip intuitive? All of these can have a big impact on how you place your wagers.

Deposit + Withdrawals

Banking methods are usually quite similar across the board at sportsbooks, but don’t assume that every provider will offer the same options. This is particularly true when it comes to deposit methods and withdrawal methods. For example, a KY sports betting provider may offer credit cards as a deposit method but may not allow withdrawals made in the same way. You should also take a look at the length of time it takes to process a withdrawal. Some Kentucky sportsbooks may be significantly faster than others.

Customer Service

Customer service is a hugely important factor when choosing the best Kentucky online sportsbook. Ideally, you should look for a sportsbook that offers a live chat feature so you can get an instant solution to your issue at any time of the day. In a perfect world this would be available 24/7, but this is not always the case. You should also read reviews to see how fast response times are for each sportsbook.

Why Sign Up For Multiple Kentucky Sports Betting Sites?

We always recommend that you sign up for accounts at multiple Kentucky sports betting sites. There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea but first and foremost is the fact that you can take full advantage of any available welcome bonuses for new users. This would allow you to maximize your profits and take each of the sportsbooks for a test drive in the process. 

Secondly is the fact that odds can vary from sportsbook to sportsbook. If you have multiple accounts, you can shop around each time you want to place a wager and once again maximize those profits by choosing the sportsbook with the best odds.

  • Promotions for Kentucky Sportsbooks

    While there are no Kentucky sportsbook promos currently on offer, we can take a look at what sports betting providers offer in neighboring states to get a feel for what may be available in Kentucky. The following are the most popular welcome offers and promotions in states with legal sports betting. 

  • Free Bets

    Free bets are often offered as a welcome bonus to new users. These will be in the form of site credit and will require a user to register for a new account and possibly make a first deposit. The free wager may be tied to a certain event or sport and will have some wagering requirements. Free bets are sometimes offered as promotion to existing customers in conjunction with another bet. For example, a KY sportsbook may offer a free bet to all users that place a wager of $10 or more on a certain event at specific odds. 

  • No Deposit Bonus

    The no deposit bonus isn’t used as often as the other promotions on this list and it’s usually reserved only for new users. The idea here is that the no deposit bonus gives you an opportunity to test the waters and place a wager without using any of your own cash. This is ideal for new bettors who may not be familiar with how sports betting works. However, this type of bonus will require you to make a deposit and wager a minimum amount of your own money before you can withdraw any winnings from the bonus. 

  • Deposit Match Bonus

    A simple promotion that encourages both new users and existing customers to make a deposit at the sportsbook. Kentucky sportsbooks may offer to match your deposit by a certain percentage and up to a specific amount. For example, a 50% deposit match up to $100 means that if you deposit $20, the sportsbook will match that with $10 in site credit. This is available up to a maximum of $100. 

  • Odds Boosts

    Odds boosts are regular promotions that we may see offered by Kentucky sportsbooks. This is when the sportsbook offers to boost odds on a specific wager for a specific event. This gives you a chance to boost your potential winnings. However, odds boosts are very specific and are not always available. 

Retail Sports Betting vs Mobile Sports Betting

Retail sports betting is when you place a wager in person at a physical sportsbook. In Kentucky, this is likely to be at one of the state’s nine horse racing tracks or the track’s gaming facilities. Mobile sports betting, on the other hand, is when you place a wager through an online sportsbook. The latest sports betting bills makes provisions for 27 mobile sports betting platforms to launch once legislation is approved. The main advantage of mobile sports betting over retail sports betting in Kentucky is one of convenience. Being able to place a wager from anywhere in the state is a major advantage. This is especially true when you take into account international sports betting markets. With retail sportsbooks restricted in the hours that they are open, someone using a mobile sports betting app could make wagers at any time of the day or night.

Available Sports Wagers at Legal Sports Betting Sites

Here are some of the most common wager types that may be found at legal Kentucky online sportsbooks once they launch in the near future.

  • Moneylines

    The simplest form of betting is a moneyline bet, which involves predicting the outcome of a single game or event. In this type of wager, one team is regarded as the favorite while the other is regarded as the underdog. The favored team is marked by odds with a negative sign in front of them.

  • Parlays

    Parlay bets are a type of sports betting that offers bigger thrills and the possibility of bigger payouts. Essentially, a parlay is a single bet that consolidates two or more separate wagers. This could involve various sports or a blend of different types of bets, such as a moneyline wager and a proposition bet. Given that a parlay bet involves multiple events, the likelihood of winning isn’t quite as good but the payouts are certainly better. 

  • Totals

    Also known as the over/under bet, the totals wager is a simple bet where you must predict if the total combined score in a single game is greater than or less than a specific number set out by the sportsbook. For example, the sportsbook may set the total for a basketball game at 130.5 points. You must then decide whether the combined score of both teams will be over or under that figure. It’s a very simple wager that is great for neutral fans watching a game. 

  • Points Spreads

    A points spread bet hinges on the difference in the winning or losing margin for a team. In most cases, the more dominant team is given a handicap by a particular number of points, based on the sportsbook's evaluation of the relative strengths of the teams. For example, the Wildcats might be -5.5 against the Louisville Cardinals. This means that the Wildcats must win by 6 or more points while the Cardinals can lose by 1-5 points. You need to predict which of these results is most likely. 

  • Futures Bet

    Futures bets are a particular type of long-term wager made on a team or athlete at the start of a season or tournament. If placed early, these bets can be especially lucrative since the odds might be considerably higher. For example, betting on the Wildcats to win the March Madness tournament as early as September could get you some great odds. 

  • Prop Bets

    Proposition bets, often referred to as prop bets, center on particular events or statistics within a game, such as a player's performance or the number of points they score. A good example of a prop bet would be wagering on a player to hit a home run in a baseball game. These bets are usually unrelated to the game's outcome, making them a preferred option for those interested in live betting.

  • Live Betting

    Live betting or in-game betting is when you place a wager on a game that is already underway. This could be something like the next player to score or how many points will be scored before the end of the quarter. This is an increasingly popular form of betting particularly with online sportsbooks that offer live streaming of events. 

Kentucky Sports To Bet

The Bluegrass State offers plenty of different sports to place a wager on. Here's a breakdown of what sports you can bet on in Kentucky once sports betting is legalized.

NFL Betting

The NFL is a hugely popular league in Kentucky despite the state having no franchise of its own. This is in most part thanks to the success of the state’s college football teams whose players have gone on to play in the big leagues. 

NBA Betting

Basketball is possibly the most popular sport in Kentucky thanks to the major rivalries of its college basketball teams. As you may well know, the Wildcats are the most successful team in NCAA Division I history and so it should come as no surprise that NBA betting will be a hugely popular choice for Kentuckians. 

MLB Betting

Kentucky is home to two popular and successful minor league teams that are affiliates to MLB teams the St. Louis Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Rays. The success of the Bowling Green Hot Rods and the Louisville Bats has created something of an affinity within the state for those two MLB teams in particular. Expect great promos on MLB games once sports betting officially launches in Kentucky. 

Horse Racing

If there is one sport Kentucky is known for more than any other, it's horse racing. The Bluegrass State is home to five thoroughbred racetracks - Keeneland, Turfway Park, Kentucky Downs, Ellis Park and Churchill Downs - home of the Kentucky Derby. KY also hosts harness racing at The Red Mile, Bluegrass Downs, and Thunder Ridge Raceway. Unlike other sports, there is a long history of horse betting in Kentucky.

Soccer Betting

There are two professional soccer teams that play in the USL and NWSL. These are Louisville City FC and Racing Louisville FC. While these may not be major league teams, they have still built up a solid following within the state. 

College Sports Betting

This is where sports betting enthusiasts will get serious about local teams. College sports are huge in Kentucky and the latest attempts to pass through legislation allows for betting on both pro teams and college teams. We imagine that the Wildcats’ rivalry with the Cardinals is going to attract some serious betting activity. 

Kentucky Teams To Bet on

As you already know, there are no major league sports teams based in Kentucky and so college teams have unrivaled support in the Bluegrass State. The latest legislative move includes betting on college sports within the state so it’s likely that the following teams will be some of the most wagered on teams once sports betting finally launches. 

  • Kentucky Wildcats

    The Kentucky Wildcats are the teams that compete across multiple sports representing the University of Kentucky. The most popular though is basketball where there is a huge rivalry between the Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals. The Wildcats men’s basketball team is the most successful in history in the NCAA Division I. 

  • Louisville Cardinals

    While the rivalry between the Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals is intense, the Cardinals record simply cannot compare to its in-state rival. The University of Louisville’s most successful year to date is 2013 when it won the BCS bowl game and got as far as the NCAA Final Four with both its men's and women's teams. The college basketball team also made it to the World Series, but failed to win. 

  • Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

    The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are the athletic teams of Western Kentucky University, located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Hilltoppers compete in the NCAA Division I as a member of Conference USA. The football team has won eleven conference championships and has appeared in numerous bowl games. In basketball, the Hilltoppers have reached the NCAA tournament twenty-two times, with three Sweet Sixteen appearances and one Final Four appearance in 1971. The women's basketball team has also enjoyed success, reaching the NCAA tournament six times.

Other Kentucky Betting Options

While gambling is heavily restricted in Kentucky, there are still some other options available aside from sports betting. Prior to a sports betting launch, here are some other betting options you can try out in the Bluegrass State. 

Historical Horse Racing in Kentucky

Historical horse racing is a booming industry here in Kentucky and, as the name suggests, it’s placing wagers on horse races that have taken place in the past. These are usually races from far flung corners of the world so you won’t see reruns of the Kentucky Derby. Historical Horse Racing wagering is hosted on HHR machines that are located in seven venues throughout the state. These are owned and operated by the state’s licensed horse racing tracks and if proposed legislation is approved they will be home to the state’s first retail sportsbooks. 

Kentucky Horse Racing

It’s no secret that horse racing is a pretty big deal here in Kentucky with the likes of Churchill Downs calling the state home. There are currently seven licensed horse racing tracks all of which will be allowed to apply for sports betting licenses. There is a strong horse racing calendar with the heralded Kentucky Derby the standout racing festival of the year. 

Kentucky Lottery

The Kentucky Lottery launched in April of 1989 following a vote by the general public. There are over 5,000 retail outlets where you can purchase tickets while the lottery’s many gaming options are also available online. The minimum age to play any lottery game is 18. 

Deposit and Withdraw from KY Sports Betting Sites

The experienced operators likely to be licensed to create KY sports betting sites will offer a host of ways in which you can deposit money into your account. The process should be as swift and painless as possible. Among the methods available should be:

VISAInstant Deposits1-5 Day(s) Withdrawals
MasterCardInstant DepositsNo Withdrawals
American ExpressInstant DepositsNo Withdrawals
VenmoInstant Deposits2-5 Day(s) for Withdrawals
PayPalInstant Deposits2-7 Day(s) Withdrawals
Bank Transfer1-3 Day(s) for Deposits3-7 Days for Withdrawals

In all instances, you should have a high degree of confidence regarding the safety of financial transactions with an online sportsbook. The companies in question have extensive experience in the field and employ state-of-the-art security protocols to ensure your personal information and data is protected at all times.

It is also essential that you make sure the sportsbook you choose offers options for withdrawing your cash that suit you. Sometimes the list of ways to get your money out is shorter than the range of methods for putting it in. Check that you will be able to withdraw quickly and easily.

Responsible Gambling in Kentucky

Responsible gambling is a priority for regulators in the state of Kentucky and all licensed gambling providers must take the safety of their customers seriously at all times. The Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling (KYCPG) provides support to those who suffer from problem gambling and can also refer those in need to various gambling support groups and counselors. 

Kentucky Sports Betting FAQs


Ciaran has written for both the sports betting and iGaming industries for over a decade. He is a true sports fanatic, and he covers a wide range of sports at

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