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Kentucky opens legal online sports betting market

| By Robert Fletcher
Kentucky will today (28 September) launch legal online sports betting, just weeks after the state also opened its regulated retail wagering market.
Kentucky online sports betting

Governor Andy Beshear signed off on House Bill 551 in April, legalising both online and retail betting. The retail market opened on 7 September, with online delayed until today as part of a staggered launch.

Each of Kentucky’s racetracks can partner with up to three online operators as well as offer on-site retail betting. Last month, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) approved sports betting licences for a number of operators.

For the online market, the initial seven operators that applied 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 this only covers retail operations.

Who is partnered with who in Kentucky?

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

Caesars is offering retail and mobile betting with The Red Mile and Betfair mobile betting with Turfway Park. Penn Sports Interactive is working with Ellis Park to offer mobile betting and Circa 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 is providing retail-only betting services for Churchill Downs’ Ellis Park, Turfway Park and Oak Grove.

Online operators launching in Kentucky today

A number of licensed operators have aired their views ahead of the market opening today, including DraftKings. Its online sportsbook will cover collegiate and professional sports and allow bets such as same-game parlays, in-game betting and player props.

Matt Kalish, president of DraftKings North America, says the launch comes at an exciting time of the year with many major sports competitions in process.

“Kentucky marks the 24th jurisdiction overall where DraftKings is live,” Kalish said. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to deliver sports fans across Kentucky with our safe and legal mobile DraftKings Sportsbook app.

“It’s an exciting time of year with the NFL and college football seasons currently underway. We look forward to being the ultimate host, providing customers with a seamless and enjoyable sports betting experience.”

Also going live today is Fanatics, offering betting options across basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, MMA, boxing, soccer and tennis.

“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. New customers can sign up and suit up with a fresh jersey from any team and any sport from Fanatics.com.”

Retail market open for business

In terms of retail, licences have been issued 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.

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