Beshear Reports $68M Kentucky Sports Betting Handle For First Online Weekend

Beshear Reports $68M Kentucky Sports Betting Handle For First Online Weekend
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

Kentuckians wagered more than $68 million during the first weekend of legal Kentucky sports betting was allowed online in the Bluegrass State. That’s according to comments made by Gov. Andy Beshear early Thursday afternoon.

The vast majority of that handle came from online sports betting apps, seven of which went live Thursday across the state. While the exact breakdown of the $68 million in weekend wagering was not announced, Beshear told reporters the state’s brick-and-mortar sportsbooks took more than $10 million in wagers since they opened on Sept. 7.

During his weekly press briefing, Beshear said no one should be surprised by the early numbers, especially since Kentuckians have been betting through licensed sports betting apps for years in surrounding states.

“We’ll watch these numbers grow,” he said. “Best part is all of it stays in Kentucky, helping with our pension system and other needs. This is the first time that Kentuckians have been able to stay home, and our dollars haven’t gone to paving roads in Indiana or investing in other states around us.”

The handle that the governor reported covers the amount wagered in the state. No early numbers were revealed on how much revenue Kentucky’s sportsbooks and apps received. The state taxes operators at 9.75% for retail sportsbooks and 14.25% for online operators. Nearly all of the funding will shore up the state’s public pension system, although 2.5% of the tax revenue will fund problem gambling education and resources.

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More Than 325,000 Active Sports Betting Accounts In Kentucky

It was a busy first weekend for Kentucky sports betting apps. Data released by GeoComply showed it tracked more than 10 million geolocation transactions from the time operators went online Thursday morning through Monday night. Those transactions, which confirm whether a bettor is using a sports betting app in a legal jurisdiction, came from more than 325,000 accounts.

On Thursday alone, GeoComply tracked more than 2 million transactions from 200,000 accounts. The online operators active in Kentucky are Barstool Sportsbook, Bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, Fanatics and FanDuel. Circa Sports, which was approved for a license in August, is expected to launch later this year.

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What Remains To Be Reported

While we have preliminary numbers from Kentucky, several important figures remain to be reported. Besides the exact monthly total, state officials have not announced the revenue generated by the sportsbooks and apps, which would give us an idea of the operators’ win rate for the month. We also still have not seen how much operators offered in terms of promotions.

Because several Kentucky sports betting apps are legal in neighboring states, there were likely fewer able to take advantage of first-time bettor specials. Still, FanDuel and DraftKings sportsbook Kentucky, the top two operators in most states, offered several enhanced odds on games and outcomes to help accountholders double their wager.

For Fanatics, though, Kentucky marked the first time it could launch in a state at the same time as other operators. As in other markets, the online sports merchandiser offered new accountholders in Kentucky a free jersey worth up to $150 if they placed a $50 wager on its wagering site. will track the Kentucky sports betting handle and revenue figures and report on them as soon as the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission makes them available. We’ll also update you on the latest news from the state and best Kentucky sportsbook promos available.

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Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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