With first two weekends tallied, over $4.5 million wagered at sportsbooks in Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 21, 2023) – Two weeks after opening in-person sports wagering and one week prior to the launch of mobile wagering, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on the success of the retail launch and what they can expect next.
Gov. Beshear announced that preliminary numbers following the first two weekends of retail wagering indicate over $4.5 million was wagered in the state.
“This is a strong number that certainly reflects the excitement Kentuckians have for the opening of sports wagering,” said Gov. Beshear. “With college football and the NFL season underway, plus the launch of mobile wagering, we expect that number will grow significantly.”
“It has taken many years to get here, but sports wagering is finally a reality in Kentucky. This is a win-win for Kentuckians, who can enjoy a quality entertainment experience and benefit from funds staying right here in our state to help us build a better Kentucky,” added Gov. Beshear.
On Thursday, Sept. 28, Kentuckians can begin placing wagers on their mobile phones.
In preparation for the mobile opening, users can create an account and deposit money into their preferred, licensed mobile wagering application or applications. Gov. Beshear said that mobile partners are reporting that well over 60,000 mobile accounts are already pre-registered in the state. The Governor noted that not all application licensees have reported yet.
The following mobile applications have been licensed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) to operate in Kentucky and will launch their applications on opening day:
- Bet 365
- Bet MGM
- Barstool Sportsbook
- Draft Kings
Circa Sports Kentucky has been licensed by the KHRC and plans to launch a mobile application later this year.
Earlier Thursday, the Sports Wagering Advisory Council met and recommended additions to the sports wagering catalog. The wagering catalog is a list of sporting events and sports governing bodies approved for wagering in Kentucky. Additions to the sports wagering catalog include:
- Formula One Racing
- NRL (National Rugby League Australia)
- PFL (Professional Fighters League MMA)
- Bellator (MMA)
- Universal Tennis League
The council also recommended criteria for selecting independent testing laboratories for technical components of sports wagering systems. The recommendations were approved by KHRC Executive Director Jamie Eads, subject to ratification by the full commission at their next scheduled meeting.
Today’s news is the latest in a string of sports betting announcements by Gov. Beshear.
On Aug. 15 and 18, Gov. Beshear signed executive orders 2023-480 and 2023-483 appointing members of the Sports Wagering Advisory Council. The council will advise the full commission and provide additional voices who have knowledge of the sports betting industry.
On Aug. 17, Gov. Beshear announced a timeline for sports wagering to open in Kentucky. That timeline now moves closer to full implementation.
On Aug. 22, the KHRC voted to approve temporary licenses for seven operators and nine service providers. The details of those approved for licensure and their business relationships are available here. A list of licensed retail sportsbooks is available here. Some retail locations and mobile applications are coming soon.
Kentucky chose a tiered implementation, which has been used in multiple states and which allows for the testing of policies and procedures before the full rollout that includes mobile applications.
House Bill 551 established a new excise tax on sports wagering: 9.75% on the adjusted gross revenues on wagers made at a licensed facility and 14.25% on wagers placed online or on a smartphone.
Sports wagering is expected to increase the state’s revenue by an estimated $23 million a year upon full implementation. The increase in revenue will support the oversight of sports wagering and then be dedicated to the Kentucky permanent pension fund.
Additionally, 2.5% will support the Problem Gambling Assistance Fund. The fund educates Kentuckians on safe gambling practices, the risks of developing a gambling problem, risk factors and warning signs of gambling problems and available services to reduce the consequences of problem gambling.
Resources are available by calling or texting 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537), visiting KYCPG.org or emailing email@example.com.