Caesars enters Kentucky market ahead of pending sports betting launch
Caesars Entertainment has inked separate market access agreements with Keeneland and Red Mile Gaming & Racing in Lexington, Kentucky as part of plans to expand into the Bluegrass State.
The agreements include the provision of online and retail sports betting in Kentucky once the state launches its regulated market, slated for the second half of 2023.
As part of this relationship, Caesars Sportsbook will be an official sports betting partner of Keeneland and Red Mile and offer on-track hospitality and VIP experiences at both racetracks.
In addition, Caesars Sportsbook will operate an on-premises retail sportsbook at Red Mile, subject to regulatory approvals from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC).
The online portion of the partnership will see the Caesars Sportsbook app launch in the state, augmenting Caesars’ existing Racebook offering developed in partnership with NYRA Bets, the online betting platform of the New York Racing Association (NYRA).
The app, first launched in June 2022, is now live in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, and Oregon. It utilizes NYRA Bets’ platform technology, which features pari-mutuel betting and content from 250 racetracks both in the US and internationally.
Caesars Digital president Eric Hession welcomed the expansion of Caesars Sportsbook into the state.
“Keeneland and Red Mile are iconic horse racing venues with an important legacy in the state of Kentucky,” Hession said.
“Customers in the region have long enjoyed our world-class Caesars destinations and, most recently, our horse racing wagering app, Caesars Racebook.
“Working with these historic institutions provides an unmatched opportunity to reach sports and racing fans in the state, and we look forward to working with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission as we prepare to launch later this year,” he added.
Sports betting in Kentucky was legalized at the end of March during the final days of the legislative session and signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear in short order thereafter.
The legislation allows Kentucky’s nine licensed racetracks to offer online and retail wagering, with each track able to engage with up to three online partners, resulting in as many as 27 operators.
Horse racing track operators would be required to pay an up-front fee of $500,000 for a license in addition to an annual renewal fee of $50,000, with license fees for online skins fixed at $50,000 and $10,000, respectively.
Adjusted gross revenue would be taxed at a 9.75% rate for retail operators, rising to 14.25% for online.