The wait for sports betting in Kentucky is finally drawing to a close. With retail and online sports betting on course to launch in September, regulators and stakeholders are working overtime to finalize the remaining details in August. Governor Andy Beshear who has been at the forefront of the legalization of sports betting in the state recently provided updates about the soon-to-launch market.
As expected, before the sports betting industry goes live in Kentucky, there would be lots of partnerships, especially those including potential licensees. In the second week of August, Gov. Beshear revealed that some of these partnerships will remain concealed for a while. But he assured that they would be settled in due time.
Interestingly, some big and important deals have been settled ahead of the launch date. Of particular focus is the one involving the Cumberland Run racetrack located in Cobin and sports betting giant DraftKings.
The law legalizing sports betting in Kentucky allows racetracks to enter partnership with up to three online casino operators while also establishing retail sportsbooks. Subsequently, Cumberland Run has agreed deals with Circa Online Sportsbook and DraftKings.
This news comes barely days after BetMGM announced that it had finalized details of a partnership with Revolutionary Racing Kentucky. BetMGM will also spearhead the opening of a retail platform at Sandy’s Racing and Gaming.
Similarly, Ellis Park is collaborating with Penn Interactive for an online sportsbook operation. But with the recent rebrand of Penn, it is expected that the sportsbooks will be run under the ESPN Bet brand name.
Other notable partnerships include the Caesars Entertainment deal with Keeneland’s Red Mile racetrack. While Turfway park and Oak Grove Gaming and Racing have submitted applications for licenses, they are yet to make formal announcements about their online sportsbook partners.
bet365, FanDuel, Caesars, BetMGM, DraftKings and Circa Sports, among others, have applied for service provider licenses with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. According to the chairman of the Commission, all of the applications are currently under review.
“The KHRC is excited to open sports wagering and is working efficiently to meet the necessary deadlines. This is a careful process dedicated to wagering integrity and protecting bettors in the state of Kentucky,” Jonathan Rabinowitz, the KHRC Chairman, revealed in a news release.
On Thursday, August 10, Governor Beshear, at his weekly news conference remarked that the countdown to the launch in September was on. According to multiple sources, the governor had been keen on having sports betting go live in time for the 2023 NFL season.
“Kentuckians can plan to place their first sports wagers, at a retail location, in just 28 days,” Beshear told news outlets.
“Bringing sports wagering to the state not only gives Kentuckians a much-anticipated new form of entertainment, but also brings money to the state to support pensions, freeing up money that can be used to build a better Kentucky through the funding of education, economic development, disaster recovery and other necessary projects, like providing cleaner water, building roads and high-speed internet,” he further asserted.
More recently, the governor announced that bettors can even start registering with their choice of mobile sportsbooks starting August 28. However, such platforms must have been approved. Thus, many Kentuckians will be waiting for the vote on August 22 to determine potential platforms where they can place bets.
The legal age of sports wagering in Kentucky is 18 and the state expects to have up to 27 mobile sportsbooks that will drive revenue.