Which Sports Are Kentucky Residents Looking To Bet On Most?

Which Sports Are Kentucky Residents Looking To Bet On Most?
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

When Kentucky sports betting apps go live on Sept. 28, Bluegrass state adults will see sportsbooks offering several different sports available for wagering. Odds on baseball, basketball, soccer and golf games and futures will be offered, and there will be markets for eSports, cornhole and table tennis. However, there’s a reason why state leaders wanted to launch around this time of the year.

BetKentucky.com utilized SurveyMonkey to survey 962 Kentuckian adults (18+) from July 18-25 on a number of Kentucky sports betting questions. One of the questions asked was: “Which Sport Are You Looking Forward To Betting On Most?” Respondents gave several different answers, but one in particular stood out from the rest.

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Sports That Kentucky Residents Are Excited To Bet On Most

The NFL season kicked off on Sept. 7, the same day brick-and-mortar sportsbooks opened across the commonwealth. Pro football is America’s No. 1 favorite sport, and it’s the sport that draws the most wagers in most legal betting states. So, it only makes sense that it’s what excites most Kentucky sports bettors.

Rank Sport % of Respondents
1 NFL 16.94%
2 Horse Racing9.04%
3 NCAA College Basketball 8.52%
4 NBA 7.48%
5 NCAA College Football 3.12%

There’s no NFL team to bet on in the state, and that means several NFL squads have diehards across Kentucky. The Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans have large bluegrass fanbases due to their proximity to the state, and teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers also are popular. There’s also a contingent of Louisville Cardinals fans who root for the Baltimore Ravens because of Heisman Trophy winner and NFL MVP Lamar Jackson.

It also shouldn’t be a surprise that NCAA basketball is a popular choice. Fans of the Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals treat their favorite team like it’s a major league franchise, and schools like Bellarmine, Murray State, Northern Kentucky and Western Kentucky also have passionate supporters.

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Kentucky Bettors Still Love Horse Racing

Horse racing, as the survey shows, has been a very popular sport in Kentucky, and it was the only legal betting option here for many years. The state’s sports betting law required online operators to partner with one of the thoroughbred, harness racing or quarter horse tracks. The brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are also at the tracks and their satellite venues.

However, despite those partnerships, the rules established by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission distinctly prohibited the licensed sportsbooks from offering betting on horse racing on their platforms. That even includes a ban on futures markets. So, sports betting operators will not be able to offer odds on who will win the 2024 Kentucky Derby.

FanDuel Kentucky sportsbook offers the closest alternative for a sports bettor who wants to bet on the ponies. Last year, the Flutter Entertainment brand unveiled its single-wallet platform connecting its online sports betting app with its advance-deposit wagering app for horse racing. That platform helped this year’s Kentucky Derby generate a record handle of $188.7 million.

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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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