Kentuckians waited for years for regulated online sports betting apps to come to their state, and when that day finally came on Thursday, data from a leading gaming technology vendor shows they turned out in force.
GeoComply, which provides geolocation services for several Kentucky sports betting apps, reported more than 2 million geolocation transactions occurred over the first 24 hours of legal sports betting in the state, starting at 6 a.m. ET Thursday. Roughly 200,000 accounts registered those transactions in the state.
For perspective, the number of transactions tracked was almost double the amount recorded in Louisiana, a similar-sized state to Kentucky, on its first day of online sports betting in January 2022. In addition, the number of active accounts GeoComply tracks equals 5.7% of Kentucky’s adult (18+) population, although Kentuckians can register for accounts at multiple sports betting apps.
Geolocation transactions do not equal the number of wagers placed, but they are a strong indication of intent and traffic. Such transactions occur when an account holder logs into their account to determine they are physically located in the state where the sports betting app is licensed. Transactions also occur at other times while an account holder is online to verify they’re still physically in the state.
Seven Kentucky Online Sportsbooks Launch Thursday
The numbers from GeoComply may also not tell the complete picture. Some Kentucky sports betting apps may choose another vendor to provide that service. Seven operators launched in Kentucky on Thursday. They were Barstool Sportsbook, Bet365, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, Fanatics Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook Kentucky. An eighth, Circa Sports, is expected to launch later this year.
Brick-and-mortar sportsbooks opened three weeks ago at seven of Kentucky’s nine licensed racetracks and three historical horse racing gaming halls. Last week, Gov. Andy Beshear reported those locations reported a combined handle of about $4.5 million for the first two weekends of legal betting.
Online sports wagering in Kentucky is expected to far surpass the sportsbooks at the tracks and HHR facilities regarding betting traffic. In most states where both options are available, online wagering accounts for 85% or more of the handle. While we do not know how much was wagered on Thursday, the traffic reported by GeoComply is a strong indicator that Kentucky will follow national trends for online sports betting.
Many gaming analysts and insiders expected Kentucky sports betting to have a strong market for its size. All but one of its border states – Missouri – legalized sports betting years before Kentucky did, and data from GeoComply last February revealed residents had set up more than 180,000 accounts with sportsbooks licensed in nearby states.