Breaking Down the First Kentucky Online Sports Betting Financial Report

Breaking Down the First Kentucky Online Sports Betting Financial Report
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission released a report Monday showing how betting operators performed during the first two months of legalized Kentucky sports betting, revealing insights into how much sportsbooks offered in promotions and how well bettors performed.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reported the $7.9 million in taxes for September and October last week. The KHRC report broke down betting traffic and revenue by online, brick-and-mortar segments and operator.

Retail sportsbooks and online apps reported $340.8 million in wagers placed starting Sept. 7 and running through the end of October, and they generated $56.4 million in revenue, according to the commission. While the brick-and-mortar sportsbooks had a three-week head start over the mobile sites, mobile still accounted for 95% of the overall handle and 96% of the revenue.

The $323.6 million wagered at Kentucky betting apps online includes promotional credits of $99.8 million offered to account holders. That amount includes millions in deposit matches or bonus bets awarded to individuals who signed up for new accounts. It also includes odds adjustments operators offered to help new and existing customers build their bankrolls.

Terms apply for all bonuses. Must be 21+ to participate.  
Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Must be 21+ to participate & present in KY. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Visit BetMGM.com for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

Kentucky Sports Betting, October vs. September

Total HandleMobile handle Revenue
October$294.950M $286.801M$53.787M
September$45.863M$36.810M$2.595M

Note: Kentucky mobile sports betting began on Sept. 28, 2023; retail sports betting launched Sept. 7, 2023.


Terms apply for all bonuses. Must be 21+ to participate.  
Must be present in KY and 21+ to participate. T&Cs apply.

Promo Spending on Par With Other Launches

Six of the seven online operators active reported offering more credits in Kentucky sportsbook promos than revenue generated. The only exception was Barstool Sportsbook, which PENN Entertainment had essentially stopped promoting as it planned for its rebranding to ESPN BET that took place last month.

Kentucky’s 30.8% promotional share of the online handle rates comparably with other states during their first month of operations. Ohio reported credits of $319.5 million for January when wagering started. That represented 29.3% of the nearly $1.1 billion wagered at the beginning of the year.

Like most other states where online sports betting is legal, FanDuel and DraftKings dominated the Kentucky market. The two gaming giants took nearly 80% of the mobile bets, with FanDuel Sportsbook Kentucky reporting $131.2 million and DraftKings tallying $124.9 million.

Bet365 came in third, a sign the European operator is emerging as a mainstay in U.S. sports betting. However, like its presence in Ohio, the British-based sportsbook earned its Kentucky market share substantially through promo credits. It reported a handle of $31.2 million for September and October, with $21.4 million in promotional credits compared to $8.6 million in taxable revenue.

Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky and BetMGM were neck and neck for fourth and fifth place, respectively. Caesars got the edge in handle with its $12.9 million, about $88,000 more than BetMGM’s. BetMGM, though, reported $2.4 million in revenue, roughly $225,000 more than Caesars. BetMGM also offered $2.9 million in promos, with Caesars giving $2.3 million.

Fanatics reported a handle of $4.4 million over the first two months, with revenues of $487,344 and promotional credits equaling $733,157. Barstool took $2.7 million in wagers and reported $375,861 in revenues compared to $39,921 in credits.

Terms apply for all bonuses. Must be 21+ to participate.  
Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Must be 21+ to participate & present in KY. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Visit BetMGM.com for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

November Preliminary Handle Revealed

While detailed figures aren’t available for November yet, the appetite for Kentucky sports betting is not slowing down.

During a KHRC meeting held earlier Monday, Director of Sports Wagering Hans Stokke mentioned preliminary figures for November show a handle of more than $260 million. Although that’s a roughly $35 million drop from the amount wagered from the prior month, October did include five weeks of NFL slates, compared to four for last month. Stokke told commissioners activity spiked over Thanksgiving weekend, which included the highly anticipated college football game between in-state rivals Kentucky and Louisville. Bettors wagered $73 million over the holiday.

Stokke added the reports will be released monthly after staff members audit returns submitted by operators that are due on the 20th of the following month.

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Author

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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