- A spectacular start to mobile sports betting in Kentucky.
- Governor Beshear reveals $68 million wagered in the first four days.
- Over $66.5 million was wagered online and $1.7 million at retail sportsbooks.
- Retail sportsbooks had already taken over $10 million in wagers.
- Kentucky’s sports betting scene surpasses initial revenue projections.
What these numbers are telling me is Kentuckians are excited, and they are enjoying the new freedom to bet on sports … This is just showing how much Kentuckians wanted this and how right it was to pass it. Sports betting in Kentucky is off to a roaring start — Kentuckians wagered more than $68 million during the first four days of the mobile market’s opening, Governor Andy Beshear told reporters at a briefing on Thursday.
According to Beshear, operators reported that $66.5 million had been wagered at online sportsbooks from more than 300,000 unique customer accounts over the four-day period from when mobile sports betting launched in KY on Thursday, September 28, through Sunday, October 1. An additional $1.7 million was wagered at retail sportsbooks, he said.
“Now that it’s legal, Kentuckians are taking advantage of both in-person and mobile applications to spend their entertainment dollars — betting on things like NFL, college sports, Formula 1 racing, and more,” Beshear said. “These numbers shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone because Kentuckians have wanted this option for so long.”
Beshear added that over $10 million had been wagered so far at the state’s retail sportsbooks, which opened on September 7.
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“The best part is all of [the tax revenue from sports betting] stays in Kentucky, helping with our pension system and other needs.”
During a Q&A session with reporters, the Democratic governor said that several years ago, before there was enough support in the legislature to legalize sports betting in KY, the state’s Legislative Research Commission (LRC) tried to estimate how much sports betting could potentially generate in tax revenue.
“What these numbers are telling me is Kentuckians are excited, and they are enjoying the new freedom to bet on sports,” Beshear said. “They are much higher than originally projected [by the LRC].
“This is just showing how much Kentuckians wanted this and how right it was to pass it. But people are really enjoying it.”
Beshear then grinned and clearly had the Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals on his mind. “I still have a chance to win the very first sports bet we ever made [in Kentucky],” he said, “because UK and U of L are 5-0, and Duke has started to tank.”
Operators Say Retail Demand Also High
It only took ten seconds for the first bet to come through. I think that really talks to the pent-up demand of the customer. “Operators have also taken note of how sports betting has taken off in the Bluegrass State.
“Just over a week ago, at 6 a.m. last Thursday morning, it only took ten seconds for the first bet to come through,” Justin Kahlefeldt, Senior Commercial Director for FanDuel Sportsbook, told WKYT-TV in Lexington. “I think that really talks to the pent-up demand of the customer.”
Kahlefeldt added that demand for mobile sports betting is high because it reaches a wider group of customers, especially those who are not able to visit a retail sportsbook.
“It’s more difficult to get to a brick-and-mortar venue, whereas online is the way the world is going, and customers can access that from wherever they are.”
Gabe Prewitt, Vice President for Racing and Sports Wagering Operations at Red Mile Racing in Lexington, reminded viewers that many exciting retail options were also available to Kentucky sports bettors. The Red Mile is partnered with Caesars Sportsbook.
“We’re able to provide a great retail location here,” Prewitt said. “That’s still our main focus, but I’m very happy that many have come on board that were not able to wager in the first few weeks as well.”