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Kentucky launches legal retail sports betting

| By Robert Fletcher
Kentucky will today (7 September) open its legal retail sports wagering market, ahead of launching online betting later this month.
Kentucky sports betting

The market opens after governor Andy Beshear signed off on House Bill 551 in April. The bill makes nine Kentucky racetracks eligible to offer on-site retail betting. 

Each racetrack is also able to partner with up to three online operators, meaning 27 licences are up for grabs in the state. Online will not launch until 28 September as part of a staggered start to regulation, although pre-registration is now open.

Online tax rate is set at 14.25% of gross gambling revenue and retail 9.75%. A licence will cost a racetrack $500,000 and an online operator $50,000 to partner.

Retail licensees confirmed in Kentucky

Last month, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) approved sports betting licences for a number of operators. These covered both online and retail activities.

In terms of retail, licences were also approved for a number of racetracks and their satellite facilities. These include Churchill Downs and Derby City Gaming, both in Louisville; Ellis Park in Henderson; The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland Run in Corbin and The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland in Williamsburg.

Other approved sports wagering operators are Newport Racing and Gaming in Newport; Oak Grove Gaming and Racing in Oak Grove; The Red Mile in Lexington and Turfway Park in Florence.

In addition, licences were awarded to three new facilities opening soon. These include Derby City Gaming in Louisville; Ellis Park in Owensboro; and Sandy’s Gaming and Racing in Ashland.

Preparations continue for online betting 

Ahead of online launching later in the month, the KHRC also approved licences for several major operators. 

An initial seven online operators that applied earlier in the month secured a service provider licence. Bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, Circa, DraftKings, FanDuel and Penn Sports Interactive all picked up licences. 

Fanatics, which did not appear on the original list, was also approved to launch online sports betting. In addition, the KHRC issued a service provider licence to Kambi, although the provider was only cleared for retail operations.

Bet365 and BetMGM will run mobile betting in partnership with Sandy’s Racing and Gaming. BetMGM will also offer retail wagering.

Caesars will offer retail and mobile betting with The Red Mile, while Betfair will run mobile betting with Turfway Park. Penn Sports Interactive will work with Ellis Park to offer mobile betting while Circa will offer mobile wagering with Cumberland Run.

DraftKings is working with Cumberland Run in Corbin for retail and both Cumberland Run and The Mint in Cumberland for mobile. In addition, Kambi will provide retail-only betting services for Churchill Downs’ Ellis Park, Turfway Park and Oak Grove.

This week, Sportradar revealed its US betting subsidiary, Sportradar Solutions, also secured a temporary sports wagering services licence in Kentucky.

Sportradar now holds 47 licences, or equivalent, in North America across US states, territories, tribes and Canada.

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