Kentucky sports betting is getting ready! BetMGM is Bluegrass bound.
On Monday, the operator that’s a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Entain announced it would partner with Sandy’s Racing and Gaming for a brick-and-mortar sportsbook in Ashland and an online wagering app across Kentucky.
BetMGM is one of the biggest operators in the U.S. with retail and/or online operations in 23 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.
"Kentucky has a rich history in sports and a passionate fan base," said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt. "Revolutionary Racing is an ideal partner, enabling us to deliver an entertaining and responsible gaming experience, while investing in the state through job creation and tax revenue."
The partnership is pending regulatory approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, which will oversee sports betting in the state. The commission approved sports betting rules last week and is now able to accept license applications from tracks and sports betting operators.
While Kentucky’s sports betting law allows operators to take wagers from adults 18 and older, BetKentucky has learned that the Kentucky BetMGM sportsbook will limit wagering to those 21 or older. That’s consistent with its policies elsewhere in the U.S., including in jurisdictions like D.C. and Wyoming that also allow 18-year-olds to participate.
BetMGM Partnering With Kentucky’s Newest Track
Sandy’s is the newest licensee in Kentucky horse racing. Revolutionary Racing received approval from the KHRC nearly a year ago to build a quarter horse track, equine center and historical horse racing parlor in Ashland, an Eastern Kentucky city that sits on the border of Ohio and West Virginia. EBCI Holdings has since come on as stakeholder in the development.
Construction is underway on the HHR portion of the project, and that is set to open this fall. Sandy’s will have 40,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 700 HHR machines, a 5,200-square foot sportsbook lounge and three “cinema-sized screens” to watch races or other sporting events.
As the HHR parlor opens, Sandy’s plans to start construction on the racing portion of the project. The track should be ready by 2025, with Sandy’s running its 2024 quarter horse meet at the Red Mile in Lexington.
It also held its debut meet in April, just days after Gov. Andy Beshear signed House Bill 551, the Kentucky Sports Betting bill, into law.
The entire project is a $75 million investment that’s expected to create 200 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs.
"We promised to bring a world-class facility to Ashland and wanted a world-class partner for online sports wagering across the Commonwealth and at our sportsbook lounge," said Revolutionary Racing CEO Prentice Salter. "We've got that with BetMGM."
BetMGM may not be Sandy’s only partner in Kentucky. The sports betting law allows tracks to partner with up to three online operators each. We have all the information you need on the best Kentucky sports betting apps expected to go live ahead of the official launch.
How Quickly Will BetMGM Open
The question now is: When will BetMGM be able to take bets in Kentucky?
Online sports betting can begin in the state starting on Sept. 28. However, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks can open as soon as Sept. 7. That’s a date that coincides with the start of the NFL’s regular season.
With Sandy’s HHR parlor likely not opening until at least October, the in-person sportsbook won’t open before that happens. However, the online app is expected to be available on launch day, pending KHRC approval.
Under HB 551, the state’s nine tracks as well as the HHR satellite parlors operated by some of the tracks will be eligible to host a brick-and-mortar sportsbook.
While online sports betting apps will likely dominate the Kentucky market as they do elsewhere across the country, operators still want to be in the state as soon as possible to take wagers for the early weeks of both the NFL and college football seasons.
Stay with BetKentucky.com as we will have all the latest Kentucky sportsbook promo codes as soon as they become available.