Kentucky Issues Licenses to Nine Sportsbooks, Including Eight Mobile Kentucky Issues Licenses to Nine Sportsbooks, Including Eight Mobile
Key Takeaways
  • Major US sports betting brands like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM are included in the list of approved apps.
  • Retail betting will launch on September 7, the day the NFL 2023 season starts. Online will follow on September 28.
  • Pre-registration for sports betting will start in Kentucky on August 28.

Regulators in Kentucky awarded temporary licenses to nine sportsbooks on Tuesday, as the state inches closer to next month’s eagerly-anticipated launch of sports betting.

At its meeting on Tuesday, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) said it had received applications from nine entities representing various sportsbooks that had also executed market access agreements with one of the state’s nine horse racetracks.

Each track is allowed up to three sportsbook partners, of which one can open a retail facility at the track. That means there could be a maximum of 27 sportsbooks in Kentucky. But for starters, there will be nine, of which eight are approved to take sports betting online.

The list of approved Kentucky sports betting apps is a who’s-who of major US sports betting brands, including DraftKings Sports, FanDuel and BetMGM. Bettors will be able to sign up to their favorite sites in just five days when pre-registration opens.

Licensed Mobile Sportsbooks in Kentucky

  1. Bet365
  2. BetFanatics
  3. BetMGM
  4. Caesars Sportsbook
  5. Circa Sports
  6. DraftKings Sportsbook
  7. ESPN Bet
  8. FanDuel
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Nine Temporary Licenses Issued

KHRC gave unanimous approval for Caesars Sportsbook to open a retail facility and to launch mobile operations in the state. BetMGM and DraftKings were also approved for retail and mobile sports betting. Kentuckians will also be able to place mobile wagers on bet365, BetFanatics, Circa Sports, ESPN Bet and FanDuel.

Kambi will launch the eponymous Churchill Downs Race & Sportsbook at Churchill Downs’ four tracks in the state, but only for retail betting.

A catalog of events that can be wagered on still needs to be approved by the KHRC. That will happen before the start of the NFL season on September 7.

The licenses issued on Tuesday are temporary. KHRC said they can be converted to permanent, one-year licenses after operators submit comprehensive information about their finances and make other disclosures.

Although nine entities in total — seven horse racetracks and two other gaming facilities — are eligible to provide sports betting, only seven applied to the KHRC for an operator’s license.

The Mint Gaming Hall, a historical horse racing (HHR) facility, joined six horse racetracks requesting an operator’s license — Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Oak Grove Racing and Gaming, The Red Mile, Sandy’s Racing and Gaming, and Turfway Park.

Approved Sportsbooks in Kentucky

Venue Retail Partner Mobile Partner(s)
Churchill Downs Kambi 1
Cumberland Run,
The Mint Gaming Hall
DraftKings Sportsbook Circa Sports, DraftKings Sportsbook
Ellis Park Kambi 1 ESPN Bet 2
Oak Grove Kambi 1 BetFanatics
The Red Mile Caesars Sportsbook Caesars Sportsbook
Sandy’s Racing and Gaming BetMGM bet365, BetMGM
Turfway Park Kambi 1 FanDuel

Notes: (1) Under the brand Churchill Downs Race & Sports Book, (2) formerly Barstool Sportsbook

Keeneland, a horse racing track in Lexington, did not apply for a license. Neither has Derby City Gaming, another HHR venue. The regulator said that it didn’t have any additional requests from a venue to an operator’s license in 2023. The deadline to submit an application for 2024 is September 1.

WynnBET had registered with the Kentucky Secretary of State as a business entity, but not with the KHRC to provide sports betting. Its parent announced earlier this month that WynnBET would cease operations in eight states — it won’t be launching in Kentucky, either.

Penn Entertainment has originally planned to deploy its Barstool Sportsbook in Kentucky, but Penn announced a strategic alliance with ESPN and said it would rebrand Barstool as ESPN Bet as part of that process.

Kentucky will officially kick off pre-registration for sports betting next Monday, August 28.

Retail sports betting will launch on September 7 and will be taxed at a rate of 9.75%. Meanwhile, mobile sportsbooks have been cleared to start their operations on September 28 — and will be taxed at 14.25%.