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Thanks to the passing of HB 511 on the last day of Kentucky’s 2023 legislative session, online and in-person sports betting is finally set to arrive in the Bluegrass State in the very near future.

This new sports betting legislation calls for the Kentucky sports betting market to be active within six months of June 28, 2023, the date which the new law comes into effect. That means we could potentially see sports betting launch in some form in Kentucky by late 2023 or early 2024.

Keep reading to find out more about the latest news regarding Kentucky sports betting apps, launch date information, and more.

When Will Online Sports Betting Be Legal in Kentucky?

Online sports betting is now legal in the state of Kentucky. That said, sports gamblers will still have to wait a little longer for Kentucky sports betting apps such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM to arrive—likely in late 2023 or early 2024.

Kentucky is not a state with many major sports teams and instead college sports are very popular in the Bluegrass State. Kentucky does host the largest horse racing event in the world though in May of each year with the Kentucky Derby. Additional state revenue could certainly be gained from the event and others now that legal sports betting is becoming reality.

Kentucky Sports Betting Overview

With Kentucky sports betting now legal and retail and online options on the horizon, let’s look at some of the important details heading into this state launch.

  • Sports Betting Legalization: Legalized
  • Official Launch Date: Late 2023 / Early 2024
  • Platforms: Retail and online
  • Expected Sportsbooks: DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook
  • Kentucky Legal Gambling Age Requirement: 18+

Kentucky is unique in that the legal gambling age in the state is 18+ and not 21+ like most states. There is also an expectation that retail sports betting in the state will likely launch before online sports betting but they should be relatively close to each other regardless.

Kentucky Sports Betting Latest News

Here are the latest news updates on Kentucky sports betting:

  • March 31, 2023: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signs HB 551 into law. The move positions Kentucky to launch sports betting in the state come late 2023 or early 2024.
  • March 30, 2023: The Kentucky Senate approves sports betting House Bill 551 (HB 551). If signed into law, Kentucky will become the 37th state to legalize sports betting.
  • March 8, 2023: A new Kentucky sports betting bill is making its way through the legislative process, as the bill from Rep. Michael Meredith to legalize retail/online sports betting for horse tracks has gone through a committee hearing and onto the House floor.
  • April 14, 2022: Legalized Kentucky sports betting will have to wait another year, as HB 606 never received an official hearing on the Senate floor from lawmakers. Kentucky sports betting faces an uphill legalization battle in 2023.
  • March 18, 2022: The Kentucky House of Representatives passed bill HB 606 by a vote of 58-30, and for the first time in state history, a retail and online sports betting bill will advance to the Senate.
  • March 16, 2022: The latest Kentucky sports betting bill, HB 606, passed the House Licensing Committee. This bill would legalize retail and online sports betting, however there’s still a long way to go before these options are legalized.

The History Behind Kentucky Sports Betting

Kentucky has some of the most strict laws regarding gambling in the United States. There are no casinos in the state of Kentucky and several bills that had previously attempted to legalize sports betting failed until HB 511 was signed into law in March 2023.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned on May 14, 2018, allowing each state in the country to propose and create their own laws and regulations for sports betting. Even in pre-pandemic days, Kentucky was looking for ways to increase revenue in the state and a sports betting bill, bill H 137, to legalize sports betting, online poker, and daily fantasy sports was introduced but failed to gain approval.

The year 2019 saw several bills created, some of which called for the removal of the ban on betting on Kentucky-based college teams if sports betting was to be legalized. They also featured legalizing both brick-and-mortar and online casinos to operate at horse tracks and motorsports speedways.

Placing wagers on horse races is very popular in Kentucky and there are multiple horse racing tracks across the country with pari-mutuel wagering. TwinSpires is run by Churchill Downs and allows Kentuckians to bet the races at the track or from their home. But outside of horse racing and the state lottery, you were basically out of luck if you were hoping to gamble in Kentucky.

Due to some pushback from Republicans in 2020 and a rule that says bills must get 60-percent approval in odd years, legal sports betting in Kentucky was still a couple years away.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear was always in favor of sports betting and H 137 introduced in early 2020 looked to have positive sentiment behind it. However, Republicans in the Family Foundation of Kentucky were not in favor of the bill and no further bills were active in 2020.

Every other year, in “odd” years, new bills are required to gain 60-percent approval to pass, which was not the case in 2020. Odd years also have shorter legislation sessions of only 30 days to discuss new bills.

Luckily for Kentucky residents, five of the seven states that border the Bluegrass State also offer various forms of legalized sports betting. Virginia online sports betting went live in January 2021 and Ohio online sports betting also joined the legal market in January 2023.

The state of Kentucky was once again attempting to legalize sports betting in 2022. Representative Adam Koenig introduced a new bill, HB 606,  which passed the House Licensing Committee in March 2022. This bill would have legalized both online and retail sports betting, however it did not pass and Kentucky sports betting would have to wait at least another year.

Finally, in March 2023, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed HB 511 into law which effectively legalized sports betting in the state in preparation for a launch of a online and retail sports betting in Kentucky.

What Sports Betting Apps Will Launch in Kentucky?

There’s expected to be a strong number of Kentucky sports betting apps joining the online sportsbook market in the Bluegrass State. Sports gambling favorites including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars are expected to be part of this new market once sports betting apps are approved to go live in the state sometime in late 2023 or early 2024.

DraftKings Kentucky

Listen, there’s a reason so many sports bettors love using DraftKings. As one of the most trusted and reliable apps in the industry, DraftKings Kentucky is sure to be an excellent addition to the KY sports betting scene. They have tons of great betting options on the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and more.

FanDuel Kentucky

Alongside DraftKings, FanDuel Kentucky is going to be a major player on the Kentucky sports betting scene when they launch. They’ll be a great option for sports bettors in the state to bet on professional sports teams in neighboring states but also, and perhaps more importantly to some, NCAA college basketball and college football action at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.

BetMGM Kentucky

MGM is a name that carries plenty of clout among online and retail sportsbooks and their BetMGM Kentucky product is looking to be another win for the brand. This Kentucky sportsbook will give you options to bet on all the best sporting events in the country, whether it’s a Kentucky Wildcats game or the Super Bowl.

Kentucky Sports Betting FAQs

Is sports betting legal in Kentucky?

Yes, legal sports betting in Kentucky was signed into law on March 31, 2023.

Does Kentucky have casinos?

Kentucky has a total of six racing tracks across the state. These are used for horse racing and not other forms of gambling. Louisville’s Churchill Downs hosts the most popular race of the year in the Kentucky Derby.

What is the legal gambling age in Kentucky?

The minimum age to gamble in Kentucky is 18 years for all legal forms of gambling, including lottery and racing bets.

What sports betting apps are expected to arrive in Kentucky?

Kentucky sports betting apps that are expected to arrive in late 2023 or early 2024 include DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars.

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