Kentucky online sports betting is live.
Six Kentucky sports betting apps launched on Sept. 28, three weeks after retail sportsbooks opened their doors. Eight sports betting apps have received temporary online licenses. It is not known when the two books that haven’t launched will go live.
Rocky Top Insider has all you need to know about KY sports betting, including the best Kentucky sports betting bonuses and promos.
Kentucky sports betting timeline
- Sept. 28, 2023 – Online sports betting launches with Kentucky sportsbooks BetMGM, Caesars, Bet365, FanDuel, DraftKings and Fanatics going live.
- Sept. 7, 2023 – Retail sports betting begins in time for the start of the NFL season. Gov. Andy Beshear places the state’s first legal bet, a $20 parlay for the over on wins for the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville football teams and the under on Duke University’s football team wins.
- June 28, 2023 – Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron enacts House Bill 551, Kentucky’s legal sports betting bill, giving regulators six months to launch the industry.
- March 31, 2023 – Kentucky becomes the 37th state to legalize sports betting after Gov. Beshear signs HB 551 into law.
- March 30, 2023 – The Kentucky Senate passes HB 551 with a 25-12 vote.
- March 13, 2023 – The Kentucky House passes HB 551 by a 63-34 margin, sending the bill the Senate.
- Feb. 22, 2023 – Kentucky state Rep. Michael Meredith files HB 551 in the Kentucky House.
What sports betting apps are legal in Kentucky?
Eight operators were given the OK to launch when online sports betting went live Sept. 28. Those operators, with their partners in parentheses:
- Bet365 Kentucky (Revolutionary Racing)
- BetMGM Kentucky (Revolutionary Racing)
- Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky (Keeneland and Red Mile)
- Circa Sportsbook Kentucky (Cumberland Run)
- DraftKings Kentucky (Cumberland Run)
- Fanatics (Oak Grove)
- FanDuel Kentucky (Churchill Downs and Turfway Park)
- PENN Entertainment/ESPN Bet (Ellis Park)
Beshear said he expects more operators to apply for other online licenses, as well.
Top online Kentucky sportsbooks
1. BetMGM Sportsbook
BetMGM Sportsbook stems from another globally known brand. It’s the sports betting arm of MGM Resorts International and Entain. The site offers the usual menu of moneylines, point spreads, totals, parlays, props and futures bets alongside live betting options in a wide range of markets. BetMGM Sportsbook Kentucky is a top option in the Bluegrass State.
- Launch date: October (retail), Sept. 28 (online)
- Partnership: Revolutionary Racing
See the current BetMGM Kentucky promo code.
2. Bet365 Sportsbook
Bet365 Sportsbook promotes itself as the “world’s favorite sportsbook” and it has a 20-year track record to back up that claim. It began in the United Kingdom but Bet365 has spread its tentacles over the Atlantic Ocean since sports betting began spreading in the US in 2018. Today, Bet365 is active in Kentucky, New Jersey, Colorado, Iowa and Virginia, but it has its sights set on launching in more states soon.
Bet365 Kentucky offers 30% SGP boosts and an extensive worldwide menu of sports betting options.
- Launch date: Sept. 7 (retail), Sept. 28 (online)
- Partnership: Sandy’s Racing & Gaming
See the current Bet365 promo code.
3. FanDuel Sportsbook
FanDuel Sportsbook is also a known brand in KY thanks to its popular DFS site and app. Like DraftKings, the FanDuel Sportsbook is already a favorite online choice for sports bettors in many states. Along with DK, FanDuel was a strong proponent of KY sports betting when the bill was being advanced. FanDuel Sportsbook Kentucky will stand out in several ways, including its popular same game parlay offerings, special daily contests and daily odds boost feature.
FanDuel has secured its place in the Kentucky market by partnering with Churchill Downs. It will be a 21-plus app in Kentucky, despite 18 being the state’s legal age limit.
- Launch date: Sept. 7 (retail), Sept. 28 (online)
- Partnership: Churchill Downs
Check the current Fanduel Kentucky promo code.
4. Caesars Sportsbook
Caesars Sportsbook has fast become another popular online sportsbook in the states where it has launched. It takes advantage of the famous Caesars Entertainment name and uses many national promotions to increase the site’s profile. Caesars Kentucky offers a wide range of markets and bet types, and bettors can participate in the world-renowned Caesars Rewards program.
- Launch date: Sept. 7 (retail), Sept. 28 (online)
- Partnership: Keeneland, Red Mile
See the current Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky promo code.
5. DraftKings Sportsbook
Kentuckians are already familiar with the DraftKings daily fantasy sports site, of course. DraftKings also recently launched its new horse racing app, DK Horse, in Kentucky. The site and app are especially well-designed, with the wide array of live betting options one of many positives at DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Launch date: Sept. 7 (retail), Sept. 28 (online)
- Partnership: Cumberland Run
See the current DraftKings Kentucky promo code.
One reason Kentucky was eager to legalize sports betting is the fact that out of the seven states that border this landlocked state, six already have online sports betting (only Missouri does not). Five of the six online sportsbooks listed above are live in those six states.
Is sports betting legal in Kentucky?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Kentucky. Retail sports betting launched on the first day of the NFL season, Sept. 7. Online sports betting went live Sept. 28 in the Bluegrass State.
In March 2023, the Kentucky House passed HB 551, the Kentucky sports betting bill, by a 63-34 margin. Then, a couple of weeks later, the Kentucky Senate passed it as well by a 25-12 vote on the final day of the legislative session. The bill needed 60% to vote in favor, which meant it passed the Senate with a couple of votes to spare.
Beshear then signed the bill into law on March 31, 2023. Retail sportsbooks will be taxed at 9.75% and online sportsbooks will be taxed at 14.25%.
When will Kentucky sportsbooks open?
Retail sportsbooks opened in Kentucky on Sept. 7, in time for Week 1 of the NFL season.
Seven venues have been granted temporary retail sports betting licenses:
- Churchill Downs
- Cumberland Run
- Ellis Park Racing & Gaming
- Oak Grove Racing & Gaming
- Red Mile Racing & Gaming
- Sandy’s Racing & Gaming
- Turfway Park Racing & Gaming
When will Kentucky online sports betting launch?
Online sports betting in Kentucky went live on Sept. 28, in time for Week 4 of the NFL season.
It’s standard for mobile betting to launch after retail betting. Eight operators have received temporary online licenses:
- Bet365 Kentucky
- BetMGM Kentucky
- Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky
- Circa Sportsbook Kentucky*
- DraftKings Kentucky
- FanDuel Kentucky
- PENN Entertainment (ESPN Bet)*
* – Launch date TBD
Legal sports betting age in Kentucky is 18
Kentucky is the fifth jurisdiction with a legal age limit of 18 for sports betting. It joined Wyoming, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Washington, DC.
Kentucky, with a population of 4.5 million, is the largest 18-plus sports betting jurisdiction in the US. New Hampshire, at 1.4 million residents, is second-largest.
The Kentucky sports betting bill stipulates 18 is the age limit. The KHRC cannot change that. An amendment that would have changed the age limit to 21 failed in the legislature.
As the largest 18-plus sports betting state in the country, Kentucky will face intense levels of scrutiny when it comes to responsible gambling — especially in terms of how it will protect underage gamblers. Problems involving college student-athletes betting on sports could also rear their heads in Kentucky, which features two major-conference college sports programs in University of Kentucky and Louisville.
What’s in the Kentucky sports betting regulations?
There are hundreds of pages of rules. But here are the main bullet points.
|Retail licenses 🏇||Only the nine horse racetracks are eligible to apply for sports betting licenses. In total, 14 venues are eligible for retail sportsbooks. Two or more racetracks can combine for a joint application.|
|Online licenses 📱||Those nine racetracks can partner with up to three online operators for up to 27 sports betting apps.|
|Fees 💵||Racetracks: $500,000 + $50,000 annual renewal
Online operators: $50,000 + $10,000 annual renewel
|Operator eligibility 🇺🇸||Must be licensed in at least three other US jurisdictions.|
|Promo language 📣||Free and risk-free are not allowed in sportsbook ads or promos.|
|Advertising 📺||Sportsbooks not allowed to advertise to anyone younger than 18. This includes mass media channels geared toward the K-12 market.|
|Responsible gambling 🛡️||Sportsbooks must offer self-exclusion lists as well as cooling-off periods of at least 72 hours. Independent third party will review RG measures every five years.|
|High-stakes bets, payouts 💰||A teller, not a kiosk, must handle wagers or payouts greater than $10,000.|
|Credit cards 💳||Allowed for deposits.|
|Public comment 👂||There will be a public hearing on these regulations Aug. 22 and comments can be submitted through Aug. 31.|
|Cryptocurrency ₿||In the general provisions sections of the emergency sports betting regulations, the KHRC listed cryptocurrencies as the accepted "cash equivalents" used for depositing into a sportsbook account.|
Retail sports betting locations in Kentucky
The KHRC can issue operator licenses to nine entities already licensed for horse racing and simulcast wagering in Kentucky.
The nine eligible licensees can choose to locate retail sportsbooks at their racetracks, as well as their affiliated simulcast facilities or historical horse racing gaming halls, if they have them.
Kentucky sportsbook partnerships
Here are the nine eligible license holders, 14 eligible locations and currently known sports betting partners:
|Venue 🐎||Location 📍||License holder ✅||Sportsbook partner 🤝||Info ❓|
|Sandy's Racing & Gaming||Ashland||Revolutionary Racing||BetMGM||Set to open in October.|
|Keeneland||Lexington||Keeneland||Caesars Sportsbook||No retail sportsbook at Keeneland — just Red Mile.|
|Red Mile||Lexington||Red Mile||Caesars Sportsbook||Will be home to Kentucky's retail Caesars Sportsbook.|
|Churchill Downs||Louisville||Churchill Downs Inc.||FanDuel||Sports bar will open before Sept. 7. Will not have FanDuel brand.|
|Derby City Gaming||Louisville||Churchill Downs Inc.||TBD||Not listed among venues that have applied for retail license.|
|Newport Racing & Gaming||Newport||Churchill Downs Inc.||TBD||CDI has applied for a retail license at Newport Racing & Gaming.|
|Derby City Gaming Downtown||Louisville||Churchill Downs Inc.||TBD||Set to open later in 2023. Not listed among venues that have applied for retail license.|
|Kentucky Downs||Franklin||Kentucky Downs||TBD||Not listed among venues that have applied for retail license.|
|The Mint Gaming Hall||Bowling Green||Kentucky Downs||TBD||Not listed among venues that have applied for retail license.|
|Ellis Park||Henderson County||Ellis Park||TBD||CDI has applied for retail license at Ellis Park.|
|Ellis Park extension||Daviess County||Ellis Park||TBD||CDI has selected site location and will reveal more in Q3 earnings call.|
|Turfway Park||Florence||Turfway Park||TBD||CDI has applied for retail license at Turfway Park.|
|Oak Grove||Oak Grove||Oak Grove||TBD||CDI has applied for retail license at Oak Grove.|
|Cumberland Run||Corbin||Cumberland Run||TBD||Opened in August 2023.|
Two of the above-listed venues have yet to open.
Sandy’s Gaming & Racing and Derby City Gaming in Downtown Louisville are all scheduled to open later in 2023. Sandy’s Gaming & Racing said it will open in October, which means the retail BetMGM Sportsbook in Kentucky will open in October. Cumberland Run just recently opened at the start of August in Corbin.
CDI’s initial plan to build the Ellis Park extension site in Owensboro fell through. However, the company revealed during its Q2 earnings call that it has selected a new location east of Owensboro.
Caesars Sportsbook announced a partnership with Keeneland and The Red Mile. However, there will be no retail sportsbook at Keeneland — just Red Mile.
FanDuel is partnering with Churchill Downs for access to the Kentucky sports betting market. However, FanDuel will not have a retail sportsbook via this partnership. CDI said it won’t attach commercial brands to any of its retail sports betting locations.
Interestingly, Kentucky Downs and The Mint Gaming Hall were not among the list of venues that Gov. Beshear said on Aug. 10 had applied for retail sports betting licenses.
Kentucky sports betting bill
The Kentucky sports betting bill, HB 551, left a lot up to the KHRC to determine. However, it does state specifics regarding several key components of sports betting in Kentucky.
- 🏦 Tax rates: Retail sportsbook revenue is taxed at 9.75%, and online revenue is taxed at 14.25%.
- 💵 License fee: $500,000 initial and $50,000 renewal for racetracks; $50,000 initial and $10,000 renewal for sportsbook partners
- 💸 Tax dispersement: 97.5% to Kentucky’s pension fund, 2.5% to new problem gambling fund
- ✅ Licenses: As many as 36 in total — Up to nine operator licenses for the 14 eligible venues and up to three additional service provider licenses for their online sports betting partners.
- 👍 Age limit: 18 years old.
- 🎓 College sports betting: Yes, college sports betting is allowed — including on in-state teams. The bill does not specifically mention prop bets, however.
- 🎮 Esports betting: Yes, esports betting is allowed as long as all participants are 18 or older.
Kentucky sports betting deposit and withdrawal options
Sports betting has been legal on a national scale long enough for major sportsbooks to accept all common forms of payment for deposits and withdrawals. Some states, however, differ on what they’ll allow for deposits.
Some states allow bettors to place deposits using credit cards. Others don’t.
Credit cards are allowed for sportsbook deposits in Kentucky. Credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard charge a small fee (normally 3-5%) for sports betting deposits
Debit cards are widely accepted and extremely common for deposits. Most companies won’t charge any fee for using a debit card for a deposit.
Withdrawals, however, are a bit tricker. Visa allows cardholders to withdraw sports betting funds onto their debit cards, but it can take a few days. MasterCard and American Express, on the other hand, don’t allow withdrawals onto their debit cards.
Online banking is the easiest method for both deposits and withdrawals, and it’s what we’d recommend.
Simply connect your online banking account to your online sportsbook account, and that’s it. Deposits are instant, and withdrawals normally land in your account within 48 hours.
E-wallets such as PayPal and Skrill are also increasingly popular options for sports betting. All major sportsbooks accept PayPal for deposits and withdrawals. Only Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM accept Skrill.
Kentucky regulators allowed online sportsbooks to decide whether to accept cryptocurrency as a deposit method. It’s not likely many, if any, sportsbooks will take this route. It’s allowed in some states, but Barstool Sportsbook is the only operator to take crypto. And it’s only in Virginia and Colorado.
How does Kentucky sports betting compare to Ohio?
Kentucky and Ohio share a border. They share the Cincinnati metropolitan area. They share fans of the same teams.
And, now, they share legal sports betting, too.
Sportsbooks have been live and legal in Ohio since Jan. 1, 2023, but Kentucky bettors no longer need to travel north across the Ohio River to place legal sports wagers.
Here’s how the sports betting industries in Ohio and Kentucky stack up against each other:
|Number of apps||Up to 27||18 currently; up to 46 allowed|
|Number of retail sportsbooks||Up to 14||14 currently; up to 40 allowed|
|Taxes||14.25% online, 9.75% retail||20%|
|Betting on in-state college teams?||Yes||Yes|
|Credit cards allowed?||Yes||Yes|
|Esports betting allowed?||Yes||Yes|
|Market share leaders||TBD||1. FanDuel (34.5%)
2. DraftKings (33.7%)
3. Bet365 (7.6%)
|Annual handle projection||$2-3 billion||$9-12 billion|
Officials from both states have already taken shots at the other’s industry in what’s developing into a not-so-friendly sports betting rivalry.
In June, Matt Schuler, the executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, told local media “I absolutely hate” that 18-year-old Ohio residents could simply head down to Kentucky to legally bet soon.
“The younger ones are most vulnerable as they’re not at the age yet where they can thoroughly process the consequences of their actions,” Schuler said. “Not my opinion. Scientific fact.”
Then, in July, Sen. Damon Thayer, who sponsored the Kentucky sports betting bill and was instrumental in it’s passage, clapped back at Ohio when discussing if Kentucky has the proper regulatory staff to avoid the kinds of compliance issues faced by the University of Cincinnati baseball team.
“We’re going to do things better than Ohio,” Thayer said. “We usually do.”
Kentucky sports teams to bet on
Kentucky has legalized betting on professional and collegiate sports. There are several colleges and universities in the state with high-profile NCAA teams, though a few stand out as especially popular.
Known best for its historical success in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the Kentucky Wildcats also field a football team that has recently emerged as a national contender. Both teams play in the always-competitive SEC.
Kentucky college basketball betting figures to be wildly popular. The Kentucky basketball program counts eight NCAA titles, the most recent coming in 2012. It has the highest winning percentage and second-most wins in NCAA history. Meanwhile, the football team has made bowl game appearances annually in recent years.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Don’t forget about the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers men’s basketball team, either, playing out of Conference USA. The team made NCAA tournament appearances during the 2000s and 2010s, making the Sweet 16 in 2008. Earlier, the team made a Final Four in 1971.
The Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team has also enjoyed significant success over the years, making numerous Final Fours and winning two NCAA titles in 1980 and 1986. (A third title from 2013 was later vacated.)
Searches for Louisville football odds will also be common in Kentucky. The Louisville football team has posted winning records and made bowl games in recent years. Both Louisville teams compete in the tough ACC.
While there are no major professional teams in KY, there are quite a few in nearby states. In Kentucky you’ll find daily NFL betting odds, NBA betting odds, MLB betting odds, and NHL betting odds for:
- Illinois: Chicago Bears (NFL), Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox (MLB)
- Indiana: Indiana Pacers (NBA), Indianapolis Colts (NFL)
- Missouri: St. Louis Blues (NHL), St. Louis Cardinals (MLB), Kansas City Chiefs (NFL)
- Ohio: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns (NFL), Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians (MLB), Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
- Tennessee: Memphis Grizzlies (NBA), Nashville Predators (NHL), Tennessee Titans (NFL)
Other gambling options in Kentucky
Although Kentuckians will have to wait until late 2023 to place legal sports bets, they can legally bet on horse races in Kentucky and across the world right now. Horse betting in Kentucky is 100% legal via online apps like FanDuel Racing Kentucky, or in-person at the state’s racetracks and simulcast facilities.
- Kentucky Derby betting odds
- Kentucky Oaks betting odds
- Breeders Cup betting odds
- Preakness Stakes betting odds
- Belmont Stakes betting odds
Daily fantasy sports
Daily fantasy sports in Kentucky is legal, as well, providing bettors with daily contests for chances to win money. DraftKings DFS and FanDuel DFS dominate the industry. But other platforms, such as Boom Fantasy and Jock MKT, are trying to carve out their niche.
History of Kentucky sports betting
- In 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled to lift the federal ban on sports betting, thereby making it possible for states other than Nevada to consider legalizing it. Kentucky lawmakers immediately created a panel to study whether KY might want to legalize sports betting.
- By 2019, multiple KY sports betting bills were being introduced. Rep. Adam Koenig’s bill to legalize sports betting, daily fantasy sports and online poker made it through a committee but failed to advance any further.
- Proponents were gaining momentum in 2020, and Gov. Beshear spoke out in favor of legalizing sports betting. Rep. Koenig pushed a new bill through the committee, but it also failed to move forward.
- Three more sports betting bills arrived in 2021, though each failed to get out of committee.
- Then, Rep. Koenig tried again in 2022 with HB 606, this time making it through the House. But the Senate chose not to vote on it, letting the bill die.
- Finally, in 2023, it was Rep. Michael Meredith’s HB 551 authorizing the state’s racetracks to offer retail and online sports betting that was passed into law.
- The House approved it by a 63-34 margin. A couple of weeks later, the Senate passed it as well by a 25-12 vote on the final day of the legislative session. The bill needed 60% to vote in favor, which meant it passed the Senate with a couple of votes to spare.
- Gov. Beshear then signed the bill into law on March 31, 2023, officially legalizing sports betting in Kentucky.
- Kentucky regulators passed emergency regulations on July 10 that allowed sports betting to launch by Sept. 7. Retail sportsbooks launched on the first day of the NFL season. Online sportsbooks went live three weeks later on Sept. 28. Beshear signed the regulations at a press conference after the meeting at Red Mile.
Kentucky sports betting FAQs
When will sports betting be legal in Kentucky?
Now. Kentucky launched sports betting Sept. 7. Retail sportsbooks went live first, and will be followed by online sports betting apps on Sept. 28.
What sports betting apps are legal in Kentucky?
Eight sports betting apps have received temporary online licenses, and six Kentucky sports betting apps launched on Sept. 28: BetMGM, Caesars, Bet365, FanDuel, DraftKings and Fanatics.
What is the minimum age to bet on sports in Kentucky?
Kentucky is rare among US states with legal sports betting because its minimum age to wager is 18. Most states require sports bettors to be at least 21. In Kentucky, sports betting has been linked with wagering on horse races for which the minimum age to bet is 18.
Who oversees sports betting in Kentucky?
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission was a logical choice to be the state’s sports betting regulatory body given its prominence in regulating horse betting in Kentucky.
Can I bet on college sports in Kentucky?
Yes, you can bet on college sports in Kentucky, including contests involving KY schools. The bill allows wagering on professional sports, college sports, amateur sports (although not if they involve participants younger than 18), as well as international sporting events like the Olympics and World Cup. You can also bet on esports in KY.
Do I need to be a resident to bet at Kentucky online sportsbooks?
No, you don’t need to live in Kentucky to place a sports bet at a Kentucky online sportsbook. However, you do have to be physically located within the state. The online sportsbooks use geolocation technology to ensure you are within state lines before allowing you to make any bets. But you can create an account and even deposit funds from elsewhere.
How much do KY sports betting license holders have to pay the state?
According to the new law, sports wagering licenses will cost racetracks $500,000 for the first year and then $50,000 annually thereafter. Meanwhile, the provider licenses for online operators (like BetMGM and DraftKings) cost $50,000 for the first year and $10,000 per year after that. Tax is 14.25% for online wagering revenue and 9.75% for in-person revenue. From that total, 2.5% of the taxes are reserved to help prevent and treat problem gambling.