Sports betting goes live in Kentucky

Sports betting is now legal in Kentucky.
Sports betting is now legal in Kentucky.
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 8:42 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2023 at 4:37 AM CDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WXIX) - Sports betting is now legal in Kentucky.

This is the first time residents can legally bet on sports besides racing.

With college football already underway, the opening of retail sportsbooks comes just in time for the kickoff of the NFL season on Thursday.

You have to be at least 18 to enter and bet and some places, like both of Northern Kentucky’s betting locations, require wagers to be 21: Newport Racing and Gaming and Turfway Park in Florence.

Kentuckians do have to wait until Sept. 28 to start betting on their phones.

A list of licensed retail sportsbooks is available here. Some locations are coming soon.

A grand opening ceremony was held at the Churchill Downs Race & Sports Book in Louisville.

Gov. Andy Beshear placed a $20 parlay bet 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.

“Today is a great day to celebrate and have a little bit of fun doing so,” Gov. Beshear said.

“It has taken many years to get here, but sports wagering is finally a reality in Kentucky. This is a win-win for Kentuckians, who can enjoy a quality entertainment experience and benefit from funds staying right here in our state to help us build a better Kentucky.”

Gov. Beshear will place a second wager today at 1:30 p.m. EDT at Lexington’s Red Mile.

“It is an honor to host this historic first sports wager in the Commonwealth at historic Churchill Downs. We are proud to offer Kentucky’s newest form of wagering entertainment to the hundreds of thousands of guests who enter our gates each year and to help facilitate the economic benefits that sports wagering will bring to Kentucky,” said Mike Anderson, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack.

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman placed a wager at Turfway Park, betting $20 on the Cincinnati Bengals to win the Super Bowl.

“Sports wagering will benefit all Kentuckians,” she said. “It means more revenue for economic development, disaster relief and infrastructure projects, like new roads, bridges and clean water. It means more money for our public schools and support for the pensions of firefighters, public servants, teachers and law enforcement officers. Simply put, sports wagering is helping us build a better Kentucky for everyone.”

Kentucky officials are rolling sports betting out in tiers.

They say this method has been used in several other states and allows for time to test out policies and procedures before the full rollout with mobile applications.

Once it’s fully implemented, Kentucky sports betting is expected to generate an estimated revenue increase of $23 million annually, according to the governor’s office.

The increase in revenue will support the oversight of sports wagering and then be dedicated to the Kentucky permanent pension fund.

Additionally, 2.5% will support the problem gambling assistance account operated by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, according to the governor’s office.

The new sports betting legislation also established an excise tax on sports wagering: 9.75% on the adjusted gross revenues on wagers made at a licensed facility and 14.25% on wagers placed online or on a smartphone.

Kentucky’s wagering catalog lists the sports people can bet on, including fan favorites like NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA and NCAA sports.

Other sports Kentuckians can bet on are eSports, boxing, the Olympics (including the trials), hockey, motorsports and several more.

Types of wagers offered are listed below and can be defined in the sports wagering administrative regulations.

  • Single game bets
  • Teaser bets
  • Parlays
  • Over-under bets
  • Money line bets
  • Pools
  • In-game wagering
  • In-play bets
  • Proposition bets
  • Straight bets

For more information on sports betting in the Commonwealth, visit the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s website.

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