Kentucky online sports betting

Online sports betting is a reality in the great state of Kentucky. You can bet on all of your favorite sports from anywhere in the state, and we provide all the details about Kentucky sports betting here.

Fact checked by: Gary Garry
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Best Kentucky sports betting sites

Seven betting sites are live in Kentucky: bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, and ESPN Bet. An eighth betting site, Circa Sportshas been issued a license but hasn't launched yet.

🏈 DraftKings Kentucky ⭐ Leading sports betting site with solid welcome bonuses
🏈 bet365 Kentucky ⭐ Wide array of live-betting options and lucrative bonuses
🏈 Caesars Kentucky ⭐ Official NFL partner with high-quality player experience
🏈 FanDuel Kentucky ⭐ Official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby
🏈 BetMGM Kentucky ⭐ High-quality online product with a rewarding loyalty program
🏈 ESPN Bet Kentucky ⭐ New platform with a promising outlook for Kentucky players
🏈 Fanatics Kentucky ⭐ Popular sports gear brand with an aggressive move into sports betting
🏈 Circa Sports Kentucky ⭐ Player-friendly policies with no limits on winning players

DraftKings Kentucky

DraftKings Kentucky

  • Welcome promo: Second Chance Bet Up To $1500

The DraftKings KY online sports betting site will undoubtedly emerge as one of the leading revenue producers in the state. They have used their daily fantasy sports name recognition as a springboard since the federal prohibition on sports betting was lifted in 2018.

DraftKings offers solid welcome bonuses for new users, and they are very proactive about ongoing promotional opportunities for existing players. This is definitely a Kentucky sports betting app that should be in your rotation because it checks all the boxes.

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bet365 Kentucky

bet365 Kentucky

  • Welcome promo: Bet $5 Get $150 in Bonus Bets

Bet365 is one of the largest sports betting sites in the world, and thanks to a partnership with Sandy’s Racing & Gaming, the site became available to Kentucky bettors on September 28, 2023, the first day online sports betting went live in the state.

Renowned for its wide array of live-betting options and lucrative bonuses, bet365 should quickly become one of Kentucky’s top sports wagering sites. We will update this site when information about promo codes and bonus offerings becomes available.

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Caesars Kentucky

Caesars Kentucky

  • Welcome promo: Second Chance Bet Up To $1000

Caesars Kentucky online sports betting site is another viable option for discerning sports bettors. They are notable for their especially generous sign-up bonuses, and they deliver a high-quality player experience across the board.

In May 2023, Caesars announced a partnership with Keeneland and Red Mile Racing and Gaming, so they found a home in the state ahead of launch day. This brand recognition will only serve to help Caesars in the emerging Kentucky market.

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FanDuel Kentucky

FanDuel Kentucky

  • Welcome promo: Bet $5 Get $150 in Bonus Bets

The FanDuel KY sports betting site joined the fray on day one as well, and FanDuel is the leading sportsbook in the United States based on overall revenue. They were named as the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby in September 2023, so they have an existing connection with Churchill Downs.

This is another Kentucky online sports betting operator with very competitive welcome rewards, and the promos keep on coming after you become a standard user. Plus, they deliver excellent content day and night through the FanDuel TV network.

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BetMGM Kentucky

BetMGM Kentucky

  • Welcome promo: Second Chance Bet Up To $1500

The BetMGM online sports betting site in Kentucky will invariably be one of the leading destinations gauging from their performance in other states. They get high marks for the quality of their online product, and the mobile app is equally well-regarded.

This is a long-standing U.S. gaming company with an international reach, so they have the resources to compete at a very high level. One of their strengths is the BetMGM Rewards program which provides valuable perks to reward players for their patronage.

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ESPN Bet Kentucky

ESPN Bet Kentucky

ESPN Bet is the new brand identity of PENN Entertainment’s sports betting site, replacing the now-defunct Barstool Sportsbook. PENN obtained a Kentucky license but was not among the first sportsbooks to launch in the state while preparing to launch its newly-branded platform.

Though ESPN Bet's launch didn't coincide with Kentucky's statewide launch, that PENN was able to prepare for a complete rebranding in three months across 17 states is nothing short of impressive. Perhaps equally amazing is the strong start for the new-look betting site and mobile gambling app.

Fanatics Kentucky

Fanatics Kentucky

Now that online sports betting in Kentucky is here to stay, Fanatics Sportsbook KY has an opportunity to take a step forward into a new market. The hugely popular apparel and sports gear company is aggressively moving into the sports betting sphere.

They initiated the efforts independently, and in June, they appeared to have a deal with PointsBet to acquire the company's American assets. It was put on hold when DraftKings made a stronger offer, but Fanatics countered with a $225 million bid that was accepted.

Circa Sports Kentucky

Circa Sports Kentucky (coming soon!)

Circa Sports has been granted a Kentucky license, though the betting website didn't start taking wagers from Kentucky players with the rest of the approved applicants on Sept. 28, 2023. It also hasn't yet announced a date when the bookmaker plans to launch in KY. Circa is known for its player-friendly policies and doesn’t limit winning players.

As of writing, the only other states where Circa Sports has gone live are Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, and Nevada. While securing the license was a positive step for the operator, the gap grows between Circa and its future Kentucky competitors as each day without launching passes.

Yes, online sports betting became legal in Kentucky when the legislature passed House Bill 551 in March 2023. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) was then directed to develop guidelines within six months in an effort to launch online sports betting in Kentucky prior to football season.

On July 11, 2023, the KHRC convened at the Red Mile Gaming & Racing facility in Lexington to vote on the completed regulatory parameters. The plan was approved, and it was signed by Governor Andy Beshear immediately after the meeting adjourned.

All nine of the horse racing tracks in the state of Kentucky are eligible for sports betting licenses.

The first legal bets at retail facilities were accepted on September 7, and the Kentucky online sports betting launch took place on September 28.

Latest updates in Kentucky sports betting

We will provide continual updates about online sports betting in Kentucky as events unfold, so you can bookmark this page and visit us periodically to stay up-to-date.

  • April 5, 2024 - Keeneland, for its spring horse racing season, has decided against deploying Kentucky sports betting kiosks, opting to continue its partnership with Red Mile Gaming & Racing for in-person betting.
  • March 22, 2024 - Kentucky's first March Madness with legal sports betting has drawn large crowds to state racetracks for NCAA tournament betting, generating significant tax revenue with expectations of a record $300 million betting handle for March.
  • March 5, 2024 - According to Michael Stone, the executive director of the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling, the problem gambling hotline in Kentucky has experienced a doubling in the volume of monthly calls following the legalization of sports betting.
  • February 21, 2024 - Kentucky sports bettors faced a tumultuous end to 2023, with DraftKings and FanDuel leading the market amidst a slight betting volume decline, generating $15.5 million in state tax revenues.
  • February 2, 2024 - Microbetting sportsbook Betr is said to have secured entry into Kentucky and intends to commence operations soon.
  • January 3, 2024 - Between its launch on September 28 and the end of October, FanDuel topped the list of Kentucky sportsbooks in terms of handle and revenue, with DraftKings trailing closely behind in second place, and Bet365 ranking third.
  • December 13, 2023 - Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced that since the state initiated sports betting in September, the total betting handle has exceeded $656 million, leading to over $8 million in tax revenue for the state.
  • November 22, 2023: The KHRC Sports Wagering Advisory Council formally approved PENN's switch from Barstool to ESPN Bet and also sanctioned several new sports for inclusion in the state's sports betting options.
  • November 14, 2023: ESPN Bet launches its online sportsbook in Kentucky.
  • October 23, 2023: Governor Andy Beshear reports that since its September launch, Kentucky's handle is close to $250 million.
  • October 5, 2023: Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says that the total handle after the first weekend of online sports betting in the state was $68 million.

The steps to creating a KY online sportsbook account

It’s easy to set up a Kentucky online sportsbook account, and the process is pretty much the same for all of the operators.

  1. First, reach the KY betting website through one of the activation links at the top of this page. This will lock in promo eligibility.
  2. Then, you follow the instructions to set up your account. You provide your basic identifying information, and your location and your identity will be verified to comply with gaming regulations.
  3. After that, if you are signing up with a computer, download the mobile app so you can bet when you are on the go.
  4. Funding is the next step in the process. After you have money in your account, place a bet that complies with the terms of the welcome bonus, sit back, and enjoy the action.

Promos you will be able to snag on KY betting sites

These are the KY sportsbook promos that you will typically see being offered to new players:

  • Second chance bets: With this type of promo, you get a refund in bonus bets if you lose your promotional wager.
  • Guaranteed bonus bets: In some cases, you will receive bonus bets as a reward after you complete a certain action. Some sign-up bonuses will provide bonus bets after you make your first cash wager, regardless of the outcome of the bet.
  • Boosted Odds: The boosted odds promotion is somewhat self-explanatory. The sportsbook will provide enhanced odds that favor the player on certain types of wagers.
  • Deposit match bonuses: You may see a deposit match bonus for new users. As the name suggests, a percentage of your initial deposit is matched in bonus betting credit, and it can be 100% or more.
  • Stepped-up parlays: With this type of bonus, if you play a parlay that complies with the terms and you win, your payout is increased by a certain percentage.
  • Merchandise giveaways: A sportsbook may give away merchandise as a promotional enticement, such as a team jersey or another piece of gear.
  • Event sweepstakes: There have been drawings that deliver coveted event tickets, and you may have a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime VIP experience.

There are no major professional sports teams but there are still plenty of popular teams to bet on in Kentucky.

  • Kentucky Wildcats – The Kentucky Wildcats are one of the most storied college basketball programs of all time. They have won eight NCAA basketball championships, and they were the first school to win 1000 games and 2000 games. Their football program is not as accomplished, but there are many fans in the state.
  • Louisville Cardinals – Louisville is another perennial basketball powerhouse, and they have a strong football program as well. NFL superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson worked his magic at Louisville before moving on to the pros.
  • Cincinnati Bengals – The city of Louisville is just two hours from Cincinnati, so there are many Bengals fans in that area. This has been one of the best teams in the league over recent years, and they are loaded with young talent, so supporters are enjoying good times.
  • Cincinnati Reds – The same principle applies to Major League Baseball, so the Cincinnati Reds get a lot of support from Kentuckians.
  • Tennessee Titans – Tennessee shares a southern border with Kentucky, so plenty of people in the southern part of the state gravitate toward the Titans.

Kentucky sports betting laws explained

The final amended version of HB 551 contains all of the details of the newly created Kentucky sports betting laws.

There are provisions that protect the players, and all of the details have been spelled out. The next step was to implement the practically applicable structure that will be utilized.

The KHRC and Governor Beshear consulted with regulators and governors in states that have already legalized sports betting to gain insight. As a result, the guidelines are similar to the frameworks we have seen elsewhere.

There are nine horse racing tracks that hold gaming licenses in Kentucky. As we have stated, each of them can obtain a sports betting license as well. They can also enter into partnerships with as many as three online sports betting platforms or “skins.”

This means there could potentially be 27 sports betting sites in Kentucky. However, this is highly unlikely because it is difficult to compete with the operators that are at the top of the food chain.

There is a 9.75% state excise tax on in-person betting and a 14.25% rate for online sports betting in Kentucky. In addition, there is an initial $500,000 licensing fee for each track, along with a $50,000 renewal charge.

Operators (FanDuel, DraftKings, etc.) that will be engaged by the tracks pay $50,000 for a license, and they will also pay a $10,000 renewal fee.

Kentucky is deviating from the pack when it comes to the age for legal sports betting. Under Kentucky gambling laws, you have to be at least 18 to play the lottery or bet the horses.

They have extended this threshold to sports betting as well, so 18-year-olds can place sports wagers; however, there are some sportsbooks which will still require a 21+ age to place a bet.


FAQ

Who oversees Kentucky sports betting?

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has been empowered to oversee sports betting in the state.

When did KY sports betting launch?

Retail sports betting in Kentucky launched on September 7, 2023, and online sports betting became available three weeks later on September 28.

What is the estimated tax revenue from sports betting in Kentucky?

Governor Andy Beshear has indicated that the state will make about $23 million annually in tax revenue, and he expects that number to grow over time.

Is it safe to play at offshore sports betting sites in Kentucky?

No, it is unsafe at offshore sportsbooks in Kentucky. They are not beholden to regulatory constraints, and they are essentially illegal.

What is the age requirement to bet on sports in KY?

You must be at least 18 years of age to bet on sports in Kentucky.

Which sports are legal to bet on in Kentucky?

All major college and pro sports will be available for betting in Kentucky.

Do I pay taxes on winnings from sports betting in KY?

Yes, if you turn a net profit betting on sports in Kentucky, you have to claim the winnings when you file your state and federal tax returns.

Fact checked by: Gary Garry