Kentucky online sports betting apps have begun accepting bets as of 6 a.m. today, Sep 28. The online sportsbooks going live on Launch Day included most of the eight operators approved for operation by state gaming regulators.
Being live on Day One is the secret to being No. 1 in US online sports betting market share, said Mike Raffensperger, chief commercial officer of FanDuel. Speaking last year about the company’s strategy, he said FanDuel not only makes the effort to be the first mover in a new legal online gambling marketplace but tries to launch within the first hour.
Kentucky online sports betting apps regulated by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) include the following:
- Barstool Sportsbook (live as of 9:00 or earlier)
- Bet365 (live as of 7:19)
- BetMGM (live as of 8:20)
- Caesars (live as of 7:38)
- DraftKings (live as of 7:08)
- Fanatics (live as of 6:00)
- FanDuel (live as of 7:00)
Circa Sportsbook Kentucky is also coming, but won’t launch until later this year, state officials said.
On Sept. 21, Gov. Andy Beshear stated that the online sportsbooks reporting to state officials about their pre-registered accounts saw more than 60,000 bettors sign up since Aug. 28. That’s when Kentucky regulators allowed operators to accept pre-registrations.
He also posted a video about it on launch day:
Mobile sports betting is live, Kentucky!
At 6 a.m., approved mobile applications started taking bets. More than $4.5 million has been wagered from in-person betting, and now that number will grow. The best news? The dollars are staying here to help us build a better Kentucky. pic.twitter.com/HTiyIslayK
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) September 28, 2023
In less than a month, Kentuckians wagered more than $232.3 million via online sportsbooks, Beshear’s office announced today.
Online esports and sports betting launched on Sept. 28.
That brings Kentucky sports betting wagers to nearly $250 million, including retail sports bets that land-based gaming establishments began accepting on Sept. 7.
So most of the wagers arrived from the nearly 500,000 online sportsbook accounts, Beshear’s statement read.
4:41 p.m. ET — (update by Heather Fletcher)
Former Kentucky Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, spent years proposing bills to legalize online poker and sports betting.
His last day in the Kentucky House of Representatives was Jan. 1, 2023.
On Feb. 22, state Reps. Al Gentry and Michael Meredith introduced HB551, the bill that would become law sans online poker. On March 31, Beshear signed it into law. Today, online esports and sports betting launched in Kentucky.
Bonus asked Koenig if online poker should’ve gone live today, too.
As of 3:27 p.m., Koenig told Bonus:
Would have loved for poker to have been legalized, but I trust Rep. Meredith did the right thing to get it passed by leaving it out.
Haven’t made a bet yet, but will tonight so I can spend my free bets this weekend. Will wager on some soccer this weekend.
3:04 p.m. ET — (update by Heather Fletcher)
FanDuel Communications Director Alex Pitocchelli told Bonus at 2:52 p.m.:
Our first bet was a $50 wager on our KY-exclusive Super Boost of +1 Total Points Scored in Lions vs. Packers at +100.
Karol Corcoran, senior vice president and general manager of FanDuel Sportsbook, added:
Kentucky is off to a strong start for FanDuel. Customers are highly engaged and taking advantage of our ‘Bet $5, Get $200 in Bonus Bets’ offer, as well as our Super Boost for 1+ point to be scored in tonight’s Lions v. Packers game. We’re excited about today’s launch and look forward to offering more exciting ways for sports fans in Kentucky to engage with their favorite teams.
3 p.m. ET — (update by Heather Fletcher)
Kentucky’s gaming regulator, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), is uncharacteristically quiet today.
Throughout the sports betting marketplace launch process, KHRC has been sending updates to interested parties during each milestone.
However, Kristin Voskuhl, the executive director of the KHRC’s Office of Communications and Public Outreach, said none will be arriving in inboxes today.
At 2:45 p.m., Voskuhl replied to an email from Bonus:
We will update, but it will not be today. Likely next week.
2:15 p.m. ET — (update by Heather Fletcher)
FanDuel Sportsbook had representatives of FanDuelTV reporting live within the state all day.
Kyle Levy posted at noon on X:
We’re live at @ChurchillDowns all weekend!
At 1 p.m., Dubbs Anderson stood across the street from the stadium that houses the University of Louisville Cardinals. He spoke about that football team’s matchup at 7 p.m. tomorrow with the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
Coincidentally, North Carolina’s regulators moved yesterday on readying that state’s esports and sports betting marketplace for launch in 2024.
1:15 p.m. ET — (update by Heather Fletcher)
John A. Pappas, senior vice president of government and public affairs at GeoComply, began a webinar by saying:
Welcome, Kentucky, to the legal market.
In the Kickoff 2023 Zoom webinar, he said 60% of online sportsbook revenue arrives during the NFL season. Most bets happen online and 97% of the latter occur on mobile phones, Pappas said. Among smartphone sports bettors, iPhones predominate.
Indeed, Kevin Hennessy said the first bet on Fanatics Sportsbook Kentucky was on the NFL.
12:45 p.m. ET — (update by Heather Fletcher)
A map showing mobile check-ins in Kentucky is forthcoming, said John A. Pappas, senior vice president of government and public affairs at GeoComply.
Responding to Bonus at 12:27 p.m. today, Pappas said:
We will be issuing something tomorrow … This will give us a 24-hour look at the market, including an NFL game tonight.
Speaking of NFL games, Pappas is speaking at 1 p.m. on a webinar: Kickoff 2023: Takeaways from NFL’s Opening Bets + The Latest Responsible Gaming Data.
Yes, that’s just minutes after updating Bonus on the Kentucky marketplace.
Meanwhile, DraftKings (DraftKings 38,30 -1,16%) is providing an update soon about its ceremonial first bet, DraftKings spokeswoman Alyson Andrules told Bonus at 11:53 a.m.
That bet on the DraftKings Sportsbook app comes from Kentucky Sports Radio (“KSR”) host Matt Jones. He’s hosting his show live from The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland in Williamsburg.
11:45 a.m. ET — (update by Heather Fletcher)
Kentuckians responding to Beshear on X are connecting today’s online esports and sports betting launch to his re-election bid.
Others are misunderstanding that the $4.5 million wagered so far was on today’s launch. The wagering figure Beshear mentioned in his video is the retail sportsbook total from Sept. 7 to 21.
11:30 a.m. ET — (update by Heather Fletcher)
Fanatics Sportsbook provided an update to Bonus at 11:24 a.m.
Kevin Hennessy, vice president of communications at Fanatics, said to Bonus:
We had a smooth launch at 6 AM. We are seeing bets come in on NFL, Ryder Cup, and Kentucky vs. Florida.
First bet was $10 on our NFL Odds Boost.
9:30 a.m. ET — (update by Alex Weldon)
Our colleagues at Legal Sports Report have predicted that even with only three months to work with, Kentucky online sportsbooks could generate over $1 billion in bets before the end of the year. Depending on the luck of the bettors, that could mean up to $100 million in gross revenue, with hold rates of 7% to 10% being typical for online betting.
Gov. Andy Beshear tweeted that retail betting has generated $4.5 million over two weeks. However, mobile sportsbooks typically take many times more bets than their retail counterparts.
At Kentucky’s 14.25% tax for online sports betting, $100 million in gross revenue would mean over $14 million for the state in Q4 alone.
9:15 a.m. ET — (update by Alex Weldon)
We now have word that all seven apps are up and running. All but Fanatics and Barstool tweeted their launches, but a correspondent in Kentucky informs us that those two are live, as well.
It’s not clear exactly when Fanatics and Barstool went live. Regardless, this has been a remarkably smooth Launch Day so far, with all operators beginning to take bets within the first three hours. We’ll keep an eye out for reports of technical difficulties, as those are a frequent occurrence when a new state goes live.
Preparation for Kentucky Online Sports Betting
On March 31, Beshear signed the esports and sports betting bill into law. That kicked preparation for the retail and online sportsbooks into motion.
On Aug. 31, officials approved a Kentucky sports wagering catalog filled with betting options. For instance, gamblers can place esports bets on video gaming tournaments that involve: Call of Duty League, Counterstrike Global Offensive (CS:GO), League of Legends (LoL), Dota 2, NBA 2k League, Overwatch League, Rainbow 6, and Valorant.
On Sept. 7, retail sportsbooks launched and began paying 9.75% in taxes “on the adjusted gross revenues on wagers.”
Today, online gambling operators began providing funds for their 14.25% tax rate.
Each coming year, Beshear expects tax revenue to total $23 million.