Kentucky online sports betting kicks off as market share grab begins
Seven operators begin taking bets from 60,000 preregistered customers in Bluegrass State
Online sports betting (OSB) has officially kicked off in Kentucky today (September 28) capping a six-month-long process to legalize, license, and regulate the vertical.
The first ceremonial bet will be placed via the DraftKings sportsbook app at the Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland by Kentucky Sports Radio founder Matt Jones, who will host a live hall from the gaming property.
Last week, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, which has overall responsibility for regulation of sports betting in the state, confirmed that seven operators would be live in the state effective from launch date.
These operators are bet365, FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars, Fanatics, and the Barstool Sportsbook, which will rebrand to ESPN Bet later this year following the $2bn licensing deal between ESPN and Barstool parent company PENN Entertainment in August.
A total of 60,000 sportsbook accounts have been preregistered in the Bluegrass State with the aforementioned operators in the run up to OSB going live. The respective operators will now be able to process bets for those accounts as well as new players.
As seen in other states, licensed operators have begun offering promotional bets to recruit players, with Fanatics among those targeting market share in the state.
“At the Fanatics Sportsbook, customers can bet on the sports they love and be rewarded with up to 5% back in FanCash on every wager they make, win, or lose,” Fanatics Betting and Gaming chief product officer Scot McClintic said.
“We are launching in Kentucky with our signature jersey-drop promotion where new customers can sign up and suit up with a fresh jersey from any team and any sport from Fanatics.com,” McClintic added.
The launch of OSB follows the earlier launch of retail sports betting in Kentucky on September 7, with state authorities recently revealing that $4.5m in bets were placed in the state during the first two weekends of sports betting being operational.
It caps off a regulatory process that began on March 31, when Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed House Bill 551 into law on the final day of the Kentucky legislative session.
Under approved legislation, Kentucky’s nine licensed horse tracks are permitted 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 are required to pay an upfront 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 is taxed at a 9.75% rate for retail operators, rising to 14.25% for online.