Seven Sportsbooks Apply For Licenses In Kentucky

Seven Sportsbooks Apply For Licenses In Kentucky
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has received applications from seven online sports betting operators and plans to start voting on licenses in less than two weeks, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday.

BetMGM Kentucky sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings and FanDuel had previously announced their intention to seek a Kentucky sports license. During his weekly press briefing, Beshear announced that Bet365, Circa Sports and Penn Interactive Ventures have also submitted paperwork. Penn Interactive is the online arm of PENN Entertainment, which announced earlier this week it was ending its partnership with Barstool Sports and rebranding its sportsbook operation ESPN Bet.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has a meeting scheduled for Aug. 22, where it plans to vote on licenses from the state’s racetracks and operator partners.

Sports betting in Kentucky will start on Sept. 7. At that time, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks can open at state racetracks approved for licenses and at their historical horse racing satellite facilities.

Online sports betting apps will get the green light on Sept. 28.

Most Kentucky Tracks In On Sports Betting

Also on Thursday, Beshear announced that seven of the state’s nine licensed racetracks have applied for licenses.

Churchill Downs, Red Mile Racing and Gaming, and Sandy’s Racing and Gaming had previously announced partnerships with operators. Ellis Park, Oak Grove Gaming and Racing, and Turfway Park – all owned by Churchill Downs – have applied, as has Cumberland Run, a harness track under construction in Corbin.

Cumberland Run is owned by Kentucky Downs and Keeneland, the other two tracks in Kentucky. It remains to be seen if either of those tracks will apply for their own licenses.

Sports betting licenses for the tracks cost $500,000, with annual renewal fees set at $50,000. Operator licenses cost $50,000 and have a $10,000 annual renewal fee.

More To Come, Likely, In Kentucky

Thursday’s announcement is by no means the final list of applicants for Kentucky sports betting regulators to consider.

“We do expect more applications to come,” Beshear said.

Besides hosting brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, each licensed track can partner with up to three online operators. While there’s the potential for as many as 27 online licenses, most expect the Kentucky market to have between eight and 12 approved operators. Plenty of room for more Kentucky betting apps.

The name most notably absent from the list of current sports betting operators is Fanatics. The online sports retail giant has sportsbooks or apps open in Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Tennessee as part of a phased launch. The Florida-based company is also closing its $225 million deal for PointsBet’s U.S. operations. Regulators in several states are already reviewing the applications Fanatics has submitted in those states.

Another potential applicant is WynnBET. KHRC Executive Director Jamie Eads has mentioned the Las Vegas-based operator as one that has approached the state seeking information.

Stay with for the latest sports betting developments and learn how you can score the best Kentucky sports betting promos from the operators approved in the state.



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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