Kentucky Online Sports Betting Apps Top $300 Million In Handle Since Sept. 28 Launch

Kentucky Online Sports Betting Apps Top $300 Million In Handle Since Sept. 28 Launch
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

In just a little more than a month, Kentucky sports betting apps have accepted more than $310 million in wagers from bettors. That’s according to information released during Tuesday’s Kentucky Horse Racing Commission meeting.

On top of that, the state’s brick-and-mortar sportsbooks have taken more than $15 million in wagers since those establishments opened on Sept. 7. Director of Sports Wagering Hans Stokke also told commissioners that Kentucky will receive more than $4.25 million in licensing fees from operators and tracks receiving their initial licenses. Renewal fees for next year will total more than $820,000.

“The KTRC is pleased to deliver a sports wagering experience to Kentuckians on time, as promised, in a regulated and responsible context,” Stokke said.

Seven online operators – Barstool Sportsbook (soon to become ESPN BET), Bet365, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky, DraftKings, Fanatics and FanDuel – are active in the state. Circa Sports, which was approved for a license at the same time as the others, has said it plans to launch its Kentucky mobile sports betting app by the end of the year.

No tax information was reported during the meeting. Stokke said the commission staff needed to audit those reports before they could be released. That means any report likely will not come until after next Tuesday’s Kentucky governor race.

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Kentucky Downs Approved

Retail sportsbooks are open at seven of the state’s racetracks and three historical horse racing gaming halls. At Tuesday’s meeting, the KHRC approved another track for a sports betting license that will take effect next year.

The approval of Kentucky Downs means the Franklin track and its Bowling Green HHR satellite will be eligible to host brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Circa Sports has plans to build a sportsbook at the track, which is located just across the Tennessee state line and about a half-hour north of the Nashville area.

KHRC Deputy Executive Director Waqaz Ahmed told commissioners that the Kentucky Downs brick-and-mortar sportsbook should open in the spring.

With Kentucky Downs now having a license, the only Kentucky track without one is Keeneland. However, the Lexington thoroughbred track has a joint partnership for HHR with The Red Mile, a Lexington harness track. That venue has a Caesars Sportsbook. Keeneland is also a minority partner with Kentucky Downs’ owners for the Cumberland Rum harness track in Corbin.

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More To Come?

Kentucky Downs isn’t the only new sportsbook that’s expected to open in the near future. Churchill Downs has plans to open two new HHR gaming halls in Louisville and in Owensboro, with Churchill’s Derby City Downtown venue in Louisville expected to open next month.

Stokke hinted there may be more developments to come.

“We look forward to another exciting year ahead as we anticipate licensure for at least two brand new retail facilities… along with additional mobile sports books applying to join the Kentucky market,” he said.

At least one operator, Prime Sports, has said it plans to operate in Kentucky next year. Kentucky sports betting law allows each licensed track to partner with up to three online operators.

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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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