Kentucky sports fans, rejoice! The eagerly awaited online sports betting in KY is now live, starting from September 28, 2023. Retail sportsbooks opened their doors earlier on September 7, 2023, with Governor Andy Beshear making the first wager at Churchill Downs.

This comprehensive guide will lead you through the best operators that are now welcoming sports bettors with generous welcome packages and exciting “grand opening” promotions. A couple of pre-launch were available before sports betting went live, and it’s important to mention that players are unable to claim both pre-launch and standard welcome bonuses.

All the recommended US sportsbooks on our site are fully licensed and regulated, as your safety and security is of the utmost importance to us here at pokerfuse.

You can now enjoy legal sports betting in Kentucky and jump into the action for the 2023 NFL Season from Week 4 onwards. Find out which Kentucky sports betting sites are set to offer the best lines, bonuses, and wagering opportunities.

For the full guide on the state’s leading operators, promotions, and the legal landscape of online sports betting in Kentucky, continue reading below.

Is Sports Betting Legal in Kentucky?

Yes, sports betting is legal in Kentucky. The state legalized sports betting, including online platforms, in March 2023. Residents and visitors are now able to place bets on sports events through authorized online sports betting sites or mobile apps within the state’s boundaries from September 7, 2023 (retail shops) and September 28, 2023 (online betting).

The Best Sportsbooks in KY

With Kentucky being one of the most recent states to make online sports betting legal, no wonder there is going to be big competition between operators to grab as many customers as possible in the opening weeks.

BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings have successfully launched their betting apps on September 28, 2023 and started offering their standard welcome packages for fellow Kentuckians.

BetMGM Sportsbook Kentucky

BetMGM was one of the first to communicate and reach an agreement with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), getting a license to operate in the state. It is ranked as one of the best sportsbooks in the United States, offering a vast selection of betting markets for over 25 different sports.

All the modern features like cash out, bet editing, same-game parlay builders, and live streaming are available at BetMGM. We’ve always praised this sportsbook for the competitiveness of its odds, especially for NHL and NBA action.

As for the welcome package, up to $1,500 in Bonus Bets, is available to the residents of the Bluegrass State. How it works: a player needs to make a deposit and place a real money wager of at least $10 on any single event or parlay of their choice. Once the bet settles, if it loses, the bookmaker will refund the full amount in Bonus Bets, up to the maximum of $1,500.

Head to BetMGM for more info and to sign up for its brand-new Kentucky Sportsbook.

betmgm ky
Last verified: June 2024
Special Signup Offer
Get up to $1,500 in Bonus Bets!*
  • Welcome offer activates if your first bet loses
  • Great mobile betting experience
  • Variety of betting markets on offer

*Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Additional Terms Apply.

See BetMGM.com for Ts & Cs. Must be 21+ to wager. KY only. New Customer Offer (If applicable). All promotions are subject to qualification and eligibility requirements. Rewards issued as non-withdrawable bonus bets. Bonus bets expire in 7 days from issuance. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

DraftKings Sportsbook Kentucky

Although primarily known for its interstellar Daily Fantasy Sports services, DraftKings US has successfully expanded into the sports betting and casino realm. According to the latest reports, DraftKings is the number one DFS provider for Kentucky players, who will also be delighted to use this operator for all their wagering needs.

The DraftKings Sportsbook App is one of the best mobile betting platforms in the industry and is notoriously easy to use. It doesn’t matter which sports you prefer the most — this provider has a great selection of sports, markets, and promotions, while the odds are more than competitive.

draftkings oh
Last verified: June 2024
Great Welcome Offer!
$150 in Bonus Bets!
  • Wager $5 & get $150 in Bonus Bets
  • Access to renowned DraftKings Rewards Program
  • Great mobile sportsbook app

FanDuel Sportsbook Kentucky

FanDuel has also offered Daily Fantasy Sports services in the Bluegrass State for years. They also were one of the first operators to launch their sports betting application and website in Kentucky.

This brand has been up and running since 2009 as one of the most popular DFS providers in the country, but they have successfully branched out to online sports betting and casino realms.

Top Kentucky Online Sportsbooks

Sportsbook Welcome Bonus Main Highlight
BetMGM Sports KY Up to $1,500 in Bonus Bets In-play betting
DraftKings Sports KY $150 in Bonus Bets Competitive odds

Eight Mobile Operators Received Temporary Licenses

Here is the list of mobile sportsbooks who obtained license to operate in the Bluegrass State:

  1. ESPN Bet
  2. DraftKings Sportsbook
  3. Circa Sport
  4. Caesars Sportsbook
  5. BetMGM
  6. BetFanatics
  7. Bet365
  8. FanDuel

KY Online Sports Betting Laws and Regulations

Initially, local government representatives showed little love for sports betting in Kentucky despite the industry-revolutionizing PASPA repeal in 2018. The US Supreme Court gave all states the power to decide whether or not they would embrace sports wagering by overturning the federal ban in 2018.

While some states rushed to take advantage of the opportunity offered by a new, unexplored gambling market, Kentucky declined to enact sports betting for years. Representative Adam Koenig made his first attempt to move a sports betting bill through the state legislature in 2019, but that effort and subsequent ones over the next three years all came up short.

But calls to enact sports betting gradually grew and resistance to the idea began to wane. The House passed a sports betting bill, HB 606, on a 58-30 vote in 2022, but it did not advance in the Senate.

The breakthrough finally came in 2023 after Representative Michael Meredith took over the effort. His bill, HB 551, received the required support in both House (63-34) and Senate (25-12) on the very last day of the legislative session. The final piece fell into place when Governor Andy Beshear signed the bill into law, clearing the way for legal sports betting in Kentucky.

The new law allows all nine of Kentucky’s horse racing tracks and the Kentucky Speedway to host retail sports wagering rooms on their properties. Each of the nine premises can welcome up to three online betting operators. This allows room for as many as 27 online sports betting operators in the Bluegrass State.

All applicants must secure licensing and approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), which was selected to be the governing body in charge of regulating the state’s new gambling industry.

Kentucky Online Sports Betting and Taxes

As per HB 551, retail sportsbooks are subject to a 9.75% tax rate, while the online sports betting tax rate goes to 14.25%. While not as low as Nevada’s 6.25% rate, these rates are better than the average standard across the United States.

For the sake of comparison, sportsbooks in New York need to pay a massive 51% tax rate. The Kentucky rates thus only work in favor of the betting operators, meaning we have all the reasons to expect lucrative Kentucky sportsbook promo offers upon launch.

As for bettors, they need to pay a 25% federal tax and a 6% local tax for any gambling wins of $600 or more at a sportsbook or elsewhere. To avoid having your single-wager winnings deducted (remember, the deductions only happen if the winnings are $600 or more), you can fill in a W-9 form. Once you do so, your Kentucky sportsbook will always pay you in full, but you will need to settle your tax bill with the IRS at the end of the year.

The good thing with this is that any losses you suffer throughout a year will be deducted from your winnings, meaning you will only pay the tax for the profit made between January 1st and December 31st.

How to Bet on Sports in KY

Retail sportsbooks opened on September 7, while online sports betting in Kentucky went live on September 28. There is no shortage of places to bet, as the state laws allow up to 27 distinct wagering operators to run business in Kentucky.

The process of placing a sports bet in Kentucky will thus be straightforward, knowing the reputation the aforementioned operators have. It includes the following:

  1. To start, you will need to visit one of the KY sports betting apps and create your account.
  2. Give accurate information regarding your personal details and select Kentucky as your state while filling in the registration form.
  3. Once you have your new KY sportsbook account, you should check for any promotions it offers.
  4. Most sportsbooks offer a hefty welcome package for new players. You should check all the terms and conditions of these promotions to be able to take maximum advantage of the bonus.
  5. Make your first deposit with the sportsbook, using any relevant bonus codes, if available.
  6. Once you fund your betting account, you are all set to start making your first wagers.

What Sports You Can Bet on in Kentucky?

Kentucky regulator revealed their initial list of approved sports for online betting and retail shops. The most popular leagues in the country like MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, WNBA and Nascar have made it to the list. Sports bettors will also have markets available for soccer (both US and European matches) eSport events, racing & motor sport (US events only), golf (international tournaments), darts, chess and more.

The catalog received a significant update on September 21, 2023, so sports bettors in the Bluegrass State are getting lines and markets for sports like Formula 1, National Rugby League Australia, Professional Fighters League, Bellator MMA and Universal Tennis League on day one!

Why Bet with Legal Sportsbooks?

Kentucky became the 37th US state that legalized online sports betting. The luxury of placing bets on your favorite teams legally from the comfort of your home represents a significant upgrade for the state’s sports aficionados.

In the absence of legal sportsbooks, some residents in Kentucky placed real money wagers with risky offshore operators. These sportsbooks are not licensed to operate in Kentucky or any other US state. While they may promise to always pay out their winnings, we have seen numerous cases in which they have failed to live up to that promise, causing significant problems for bettors, particularly those who have landed serious winnings and have large amounts of money at stake.

The worst part about offshore operators is that there is no legal way for you to demand the payout of your winnings. They are not licensed, and, as such, they are not obligated to pay debts. The only downside for them would be a poor reputation in these cases.

However, these times are luckily now behind us as Kentucky has finally embraced legal sports betting, which will be available in September. From now on, local residents can pick one of several legally operating, fully licensed sportsbooks in the state, where they won’t need to worry about anything else other than the outcome of their wagers.

To obtain a license, sports betting operators must follow the strictest security measures, including separating player funds from the money of their operational costs as well as securing timely payouts on every single occasion. Licensed operators guarantee 100% fair treatment. They also pay taxes, so a portion of their money goes to various socially beneficial programs.

Banking Options at Kentucky Sportsbooks

Unlike some other states, Kentucky sports betting does not impose restrictions in terms of banking methods. The real money sports betting operators that went live in September offer an array of options, including the following:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • PayPal
  • Discover
  • VIP Preferred (e-check)
  • Play+
  • Venmo
  • Online Banking
  • Wire Transfer
  • PayNearMe
  • Physically at a Retail Sportsbook

Learn More: Most Popular US Sportsbooks That Accept PayPal

FAQ

When did sports betting start in Kentucky?

Fully licensed and regulated retail sportsbooks opened on September 7, while Kentucky’s online sports betting apps launched on September 28, 2023.

What are the best betting apps in Kentucky?

DraftKings betting app has an average rating 4.8 out of 5 on the app store after more than 250,000 customer reviews. It’s well-designed, easy to use and it will be available for all Kentucky residents to download and use. BetMGM’s betting app is slightly less polished, but deserves high rating as well.

What sportsbooks are in Kentucky?

The KY sports betting bill (HB 551) allows up to 27 online sports betting apps to go live in the Bluegrass State. All the biggest companies in the niche, such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM, have also launched in the newly opened Kentucky market, so bettors in the Bluegrass State have plenty of options.

How old do I need to be to place legal sports wagers in Kentucky?

For a big majority of sportsbooks, you must be at least 18 years old to legally bet on sports in KY. The only exception is BetMGM who require 21 years of age. You will need to verify your age during the registration process with any Kentucky sports betting operator.

Can you bet on Kentucky college teams?

Like in all other states where online sports betting is legal, bettors from Kentucky won’t be able to place bets on in-state college teams, but wagering on all squads outside the state is perfectly fine and permitted.

Are there any Kentucky sportsbook bonuses?

Yes! All of the operators we mentioned in this guide are offering some sort of a welcome bonus. BetMGM and DraftKings have the most lucrative ones.

Who regulates online sports betting in Kentucky?

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) is responsible for overseeing retail and online sports betting in the Bluegrass State.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500