Kentucky Sports Betting
With Kentucky’s legal sports betting bill finally successfully passing through the state legislature, retail sports betting, as well as online sports betting, are both on their way to the Bluegrass State. That’s right, legal sports betting is coming to Kentucky!
In this Kentucky sports betting guide, we will explore many of the Kentucky sports betting sites that will soon be available to users, answer some Kentucky sports betting FAQs, and talk about some of the best ways to play.
Kentucky Sportsbook Offers
- Kentucky Sportsbook Offers
- Kentucky Sports Betting History
- Kentucky Sportsbooks
- Kentucky Retail Sportsbooks
- Betting on the Kentucky Derby
- Betting on the NFL in Kentucky
- Signing Up for a Sportsbook in Kentucky
- Legal Kentucky Bet Types
- Legal Kentucky Betting Markets
- Kentucky Sports Teams
- Kentucky Sportsbook Banking Options
- Kentucky Responsible Gambling Resources
- More on Kentucky Sports Betting
- Kentucky Sports Betting FAQ
Kentucky Sports Betting History
It’s taken a long time since the Supreme Court allowed states to legalize sports betting, but Kentucky sports betting is finally on the way. Let’s take a look at how we got here
- 2020-2022: Then-State representative Adam Koenig introduced first three of four sports KY sports betting bills; none are voted on
- February 22, 2023: State representative Michael Meredith introduces HB 551, providing a path to legalize Kentucky sports betting.
- March 13, 2023: Kentucky State House of Representatives approves HB 551 by a vote of 63-34
- March 31, 2023: House Bill 551 is passed by the Kentucky State Senate by a vote of 25-12; the bill is signed into law by Gov. Beshear the same day, marking a major moment in the journey to legalize sports betting
- June 28, 2023: Kentucky sports betting legislation goes into effect; sportsbooks are able to apply for online betting licenses, which must be approved within the first six months of legalized sports betting
- August 10, 2023: Several sportsbooks apply for an online sports betting license in Kentucky.
- September 7, 2023: Retail sports betting will launch at in-person locations across Kentucky, including several horse racing tracks across the state
- September 28, 2023: Kentucky online sports betting will go live on September 28th on as many as eight online platforms
When legal online sports betting comes to Kentucky this September, users will have a wide variety of online sportsbooks to choose from.
Each one of these sportsbooks and the corresponding online betting apps will provide players with a number of promotions, boosts, and ways to play. Let’s break down the options, and what you can expect from each.
BetMGM, a joint venture between MGM Resorts and Entain Holdings, has been around since 2018, right when legal sports betting in the United States began to gain momentum.
They’ve been one of the biggest players in the online sports betting space ever since, and have official partnership agreements with multiple major sports leagues and teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Reds, and Philadelphia 76ers. They are also partnered with Sandy’s Gaming and Racing, a new horse racing venue and retail sports betting location in Kentucky.
You can pre-register on bet365 using promo code MAXSCORES for their promo of ‘Bet $1, Get $365‘ once online sports betting launches in Kentucky this fall!
Bet365 was established in the UK in 2000, and continues to thrive there and in many countries across the globe. They are one of the world’s largest sportsbooks and have some of the broadest offerings of anyone in the market.
With legal sports betting coming to Kentucky, FanDuel is also now available in the state. Beginning with fantasy football competitions in the 2010 NFL season, FanDuel has established itself as one of the biggest players in both DFS and online sports betting.
FanDuel is the official sports betting partner of major franchises like the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees, and Denver Broncos. To this day, they are still one of the leaders in daily fantasy sports offerings.
As we saw FanDuel pre-registration offers available ahead of the Kentucky launch, expect FanDuel to do copy those once North Carolina sportsbook pre-registration begins.
Fanatics Sportsbook Kentucky
Fanatics’ venture into online sports betting accelerated in June 2023 when the company acquired PointsBet’s US operations. With that move, Fanatics Sportsbook also acquired the company’s license to operate in several states, including some major ones, such as New York and New Jersey.
Run by CEO Michael Rubin, Fanatics is the top licensed sports merchandise seller in the World, and with legal sports betting coming to Kentucky, so are they.
Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky
Caesars is a brand that has existed much longer than legal online sports betting in the United States, as they operate casinos and resorts across the country. Since the legalization of sports betting in the US, they’ve been a major player in the market.
PENN Entertainment’s situation is one of the more interesting ones at this time, as the company has announced a partnership with ESPN. ESPN BET is now available in this state
The most recognizable sports entertainment brand in the United States is one of the biggest moves we’ve seen in an era with sports betting legal.
DraftKings got started in the DFS field just like FanDuel, and has been a leader in Daily Fantasy Sports for many years. Since the legalization of sports betting, they have also dominated a huge market share in terms of online sportsbook users.
DraftKings has partnerships with a wide array of professional sports teams, such as the Golden State Warriors, New England Patriots, and Chicago Cubs, which even has a DraftKings retail sportsbook at Wrigley Field.
Circa Sportsbook Kentucky
Last Vegas-based Circa bills itself as the largest sports betting experience in the world and a leader in the field of emerging sportsbook technology.
The centerpiece of their operation is a massive brick-and-mortar casino and sportsbook in Vegas, but like many others in the field, they have moved into the online sports betting space as well, opening up in Colorado and Iowa.
Expected Circa Sportsbook Promo Offer
It’s not clear at this time what the promo will be from Circa Sportsbook for Kentucky users, but they will certainly provide bonuses and odds boosts during the online Kentucky sports betting launch.
Kentucky Retail Sportsbooks
With such a rich tradition of horse racing, Kentucky has a longer relationship with in-person wagering than most states. Now, with sports betting legal in Kentucky, most of these horse racing tracks will double as venues for retail sports wagering.
Unlike online sports betting in Kentucky, which won’t launch until later in the month, retail sports betting locations will be open for business on September 7th, which just so happens to also be NFL opening day, as the Chiefs will play the Lions that evening. Let’s take a look at some of the places Kentucky gamblers will be able to bet in person starting then.
Ellis Park Racing & Gaming
Ellis Park is located up in Henderson, Kentucky, right near the state line that separates Kentucky from Indiana. The venue just celebrated its 100th birthday, as the first races took place in November of 1922.
Last fall, Ellis Park was purchased by Churchill Downs Incorporated, which owns the most famous venue in American horse racing. The support from such an organization will only enhance the visitor experience at such a historical horse racing venue.
Churchill Downs Racetrack
Without a shadow of a doubt, Churchill Downs is the most iconic place to watch horse racing in Kentucky, the United States, and probably in the World. The first weekend of May each year, the Kentucky Derby is held there, and all eyes in the racing and truly the sporting World are on the venerable Louisville track.
The venue holds an incredible 170,000 fans and has been open since 1875. With sports betting legal in the state of Kentucky, Churchill Downs will be the place to be all summer long- not just one Saturday in May- to watch horses run and do some sports wagering
Corbin, Kentucky, in the Southeastern region of the state, now has its own racetrack after Cumberland Run opened on July 26th. This will also serve as a location to do some in-person sports betting after the September 7th launch date.
It’s one of the smaller horse racing tracks, but will also include live betting, gaming machines, and all of the other attractions of a modern gaming hall. While the venue itself has had its “soft open,” the sports wagering, of course, cannot start until September.
Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel
With accommodations, award-winning restaurants and bars, an outdoor amphitheatre and horse racing and soon, sports betting, Oak Grove has everything Kentucky residents need for a fun weekend of gaming and recreation.
As another location under the Churchill Downs Incorporated umbrella, Oak Grove will provide Southwestern Kentucky with a place to enjoy all of the offerings from one of the biggest brands in racing and gaming.
Red Mile Racetrack
The Red Mile, founded all the way back in 1875, is the second-oldest harness racing track in the World. The track is a mile long and features iconic red clay, both of which lend to its name.
Located in Lexington, the Red Mile is a relatively central location for Kentuckians and provides the opportunity to watch the races and do some sports wagering in a major city.
Sandy’s Gaming & Racing
Sandy’s Gaming & Racing, a new casino, sportsbook, and horse track in Eastern Kentucky, will have a special feature: an in-house BetMGM location, as owner Revolutionary Racing Kentucky and BetMGM have agreed to a partnership.
Sandy’s is expected to be a rising star in the retail sports betting landscape and will offer Kentucky bettors a great destination to spend a fun day or weekend at a premier Kentucky sports betting site.
Turfway Park Racing & Gaming
Right over the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Turfway Park Racing & Gaming is yet another holding of Churchill Downs Incorporated, located in Florence, Kentucky.
Turfway is one of the most esteemed thoroughbred racing flat tracks in the country and has been in operation since 1959. As Kentucky sports betting begins to take off, it will become a key venue for sports wagering in the state.
Betting on the Kentucky Derby
It’s no secret that horse racing is a sport with a very close connection for gambling, but for years, this type of wagering only took place at horse racing tracks. It’s worth noting that some tracks have long offered the ability to place bets on races at other tracks, but betting off-site, such as at home, has not been legal in the past.
Now with the legalization of mobile sports betting, players will have more ways to get involved in Kentucky’s biggest sporting event, the Kentucky Derby. In the past, going to Churchill Downs (or any one of the other major horse racing tracks) and placing bets on the race was your best way to play, but now with online sports betting legal, Kentucky residents will be able to place bets on the Kentucky Derby from their phone or computer, as will players in any other state with online sports betting legal.
Betting on the NFL in Kentucky
Since the signing of the Kentucky sports betting bill, we have learned that Kentucky will become the first state to ever launch retail sports betting on the same day as the start of the NFL regular season. This unique timing puts online and in-person sportsbooks in very different positions, both of which have varying degrees of pros and cons.
There’s definitely more upside for the retail locations; the lack of ability to bet from home paired with the general excitement around the start of pro football will likely send bettors in droves to retail locations with sports betting legal.
Online sportsbooks will also miss out on the preseason market, as well as several weeks of regular season action. The one benefit might be that potential users will already be in the swing of things after trying their hand at sports wagering in retail betting markets, so they’ll be ready to go when the legal sports betting apps launch.
Signing Up for a Sportsbook in Kentucky
- After choosing a sportsbook, either download the app, or navigate to the online sportsbook website. Either way, you will be prompted to sign up for an account
- In order to create your account, you will need to provide the operator with personal information to confirm that you are of legal gambling age (18 or older in Kentucky, but many sportsbooks are requiring new users to be 21+) before you can bet online. This information could include a government ID or social security number, and will definitely involve contact information, such as your phone number and email. You will also need to create a username and password for your account.
- Most Kentucky sports betting apps and sites will require you to consent to the use of some sort of geolocation software, which will allow them to confirm that you are in Kentucky. You don’t have to be a resident of Kentucky to sign up for an account, but you do need to be physically present in the state to wager. You will be presented with terms and conditions, and have to agree in order to use the sportsbook
- Your next step will be to make your first deposit. You can do this by linking a payment method to your sportsbook account, usually, online banking, credit and debit cards, PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay and even checks or wire transfers are among the acceptable options.
- If there is a promo code to take advantage of the sportsbook’s bonus offers for first-time users, you can find it in the introduction section of this article; enter it when prompted to do so. Then, you’re finally ready to do some mobile sports betting!
Legal Kentucky Bet Types
There are plenty of different ways to play with online sportsbooks, and with Kentucky online sports betting on the way, it’s important to know your options
If you feel strongly about how a season is going to go for a team or player, you should invest in futures. These wagers often have fairly long odds, providing you with a great payout if they win.
You can bet on what team is going to win a championship or division, or how many games pro or college sports teams will win. In some states, you can also bet on who will pick first in the upcoming draft.
In terms of betting on individuals, you can bet on award winners, as well as picking the over or under for statistic totals, such as home runs, points, or passing yards a player will accumulate throughout a season.
Moneyline wagers are probably the simplest, most straightforward way to bet. With these wagers, you simply pick which team is going to win the game of your choice.
This is one of the most popular ways to play on online sportsbooks and retail sportsbooks alike. Most platforms will offer moneylines on just about every game across professional and college sports.
Spread wagers are one of the most traditional ways to bet and are also offered for pretty much every competition across major pro and college sports.
For these wagers, you have to determine whether the margin of victory will be more or less than a given margin in favor of one team. This is a great way to bet if you like an underdog’s chances to keep things close, but aren’t sure they’ll pull off the upset.
Betting on a total is a great way to approach wagering on a game when you have a good idea of if it’s going to be a low-scoring battle or a big-offense shootout, but aren’t sure who’s going to win.
With totals, the sportsbook provides you with a number of points to be scored between the two teams in a contest, and you have to bet whether there will be more or less than that number. This is usually approximately an even-money payout.
Teasers are very much like spreads and totals, but slightly altered. Teasers allow you to do what is known as “buying” or “selling” points, where you can assume more risk in exchange for a higher potential payout, or accept a lower potential payout in exchange for a surer bet.
A prop bet most often gives you the chance to bet on what an individual player will do in a game. As you probably guessed, NFL prop bets are the most popular option for prop wagering. You can bet whether or not a football player will catch a touchdown, how many hits or strikeouts an MLB player will record, or how many points a basketball player will score.
Parlays are really a variation of the previous types of bets detailed above. They allow you to combine multiple selections so the odds compound, giving you an exponentially higher payout if you win- but if a single choice, or “leg” does not hit, your entire bet loses.
Different online sportsbooks will have different rules for putting together parlays; some will allow parlays using futures, some will allow you to use teasers, and many offer same-game parlays, in which you can include multiple props from the same game.
A round robin is a series of smaller parlays made from a large group of individual bets. You can win a huge amount of money if all of the parlays hit, incrementally less if some win and some lose, and potentially lose your stake entirely if none of them hit.
For instance, if you pick four teams to win on an NFL Sunday, you can do a Round Robin “by 2’s” and the sportsbook will automatically build as many unique two-leg parlays as it can from those four teams (it would be six parlays in this scenario)
Daily Fantasy Sports
Daily Fantasy Sports, or DFS, were one of the original hallmarks of FanDuel and DraftKings, and both remain wildly popular to this day. They offer the excitement of fantasy sports, but without the long timeline, and often with huge potential payouts despite lower financial investments. DFS games are legal in Kentucky.
Legal Kentucky Betting Markets
With the Kentucky sports betting law in effect starting this September, you will be able to place bets on some of your favorite major professional sports teams, college sports, and even horse racing, such as the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Let’s take a look at some of the markets that will be available once Kentucky sports betting launches in September.
In American sports, the NFL is king. Legal sports betting has absolutely not changed that, and it has been one of the biggest betting markets following every single wave of sports betting launches.
With most games each week packed into one big Sunday, it creates an all-day sports betting experience that is unmatched by any other US professional league.
With games throughout the week, and even a new in-season knockout tournament, the NBA provides fans with opportunities for betting action all winter long.
Basketball is a big-numbers game, with many different recordable statistic categories, making the NBA a great league for bettors who want to try betting on player props; with points, rebounds, assists, or even steals and blocks, you have plenty of options in this arena.
There is absolutely nothing in this world like playoff hockey. Superstars shine on the biggest stage, and upsets are the norm once the NHL gets past the regular season, making for one of the most exciting betting periods of the whole year.
With so many teams having a real chance to lift the Stanley Cup, and lots of specialized individual awards, the NHL is a perfect place to start if you want to invest in some futures.
Baseball provides you with an unbelievable array of betting opportunities. Each team plays 162 regular season games, so there’s action every single day. It’s also by far the biggest sport in the United States over the summer, so it doesn’t have to share the spotlight for most of the regular season.
The MLB is certainly the place to go if you want to get involved with live betting. You can wager on outcomes for events as specific as an individual pitch, giving you literally hundreds of opportunities per game to place bets.
Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby are at the heart of the horse racing scene in Kentucky, but there’s much more thoroughbred action going on across the Bluegrass State.
While possibly the most fun way to participate in horse racing is to spend a summer day at a track like Churchill Downs and place some bets, there will soon be plenty of ways to bet on the horses from the comfort of your own home, most notably on Kentucky Derby Saturday.
As is the case with the prize money in the tournaments themselves, betting on golf can lead to some insane payouts. In a field of dozens of competitors, only one can win, so even the favorite has fairly long odds, and you’ll make a bundle of cash for picking correctly.
If you want to play it a little bit safer, you can bet on a golfer’s score, or for him or her to finish within the top 10, top 20, or simply to make the cut. That being said, there are few better experiences in sports gambling than watching your pick have a great championship Sunday in a big golf tournament.
Soccer is different from most of the traditional American team sports because there are simply so many different competitions. Whether it’s at home or abroad, a domestic league, cup, or continental competition, and for club or country, there’s a game happening.
The sheer variety of options makes soccer a very appealing option for sports bettors. Making matters even more interesting is the fact that games in most of these competitions can end in a tie, leading to the existence of a three-way moneyline. With three possible outcomes instead of two, payouts for correct wagers will be better, even for favorites.
There are some who consider UFC the greatest display of physical ability, and those people make a very good argument. In a fight with very few rules, anything can happen, and it’s truly awe-inspiring to see what humans working their absolute hardest can achieve.
These fights are fun to bet on because you can predict not just who will win, but how it will happen. Whether you think your fighter will win by submission, decision, knockout, or TKO, it’s extremely rewarding to pick the right outcome for the right side.
One of the oldest and most revered sports in the World, boxing offers some outstanding betting opportunities. Like UFC, you can bet on method of victory as well as how many rounds you think a fight will go.
Fights can sometimes be tough to call, but there’s little better in the sporting world than watching a heavyweight title fight when the fighter you’ve bet on is making a push for the belt.
NASCAR is considered the top spectator sport in the US, with dedicated fans buying every seat in enormous racetracks that can fit nearly 200,000 spectators. Kentucky Speedway, located in Sparta, can house about 107,000 fans.
Now, with the legalization of Kentucky online sports betting, residents can get in on the fun without leaving their house by betting on drivers to win races, or season-long titles.
With big sponsorships, individual rivalries, even the wildly popular docuseries “Drive to Survive,” it’s safe to say that F1 racing has taken the US by storm and won the hearts of millions.
The sport is different from Nascar, in the sense that it takes place on challenging road courses filled with hairpin turns, but there are plenty of similarities too. Individual race betting is a huge market, as is betting on racers or teams to have season-long success.
When Kentucky online sports betting launches, pro leagues won’t be the only avenue for sports gambling- college competitions will have game lines, props, and futures all ready to go as well.
NCAA football is legendary for big upsets and underdog stories, making it a great venue for betting if you like long-shots and big potential payouts. With well over 100 Division 1 FBS teams, there’s no shortage of action to bet on when it comes to jam-packed college football Saturdays.
March Madness is truly one of the great sports gambling events of the year, whether you’re taking part at the game, in a casino, or on a mobile sports betting app.
Kentucky is lucky enough to have multiple excellent NCAA basketball programs across the state, and when Kentucky sports betting goes live, you’ll be able to place bets on any and all of them.
Kentucky Sports Teams
With legalized sports betting coming to the Bluegrass State, residents will have the opportunity to bet on some of their favorite local teams. Let’s take a look at some of the Kentucky fan favorites.
As one of the premier programs in Men’s and Women’s College basketball, the Kentucky Wildcats are undoubtedly one of the most popular teams in the state, pro or college. With 17 Men’s Final Four appearances dating back to 1942, they’ve won it all in 8 of those trips, with the most recent championship coming in 2012.
When the NBA season starts in October, you can watch an impressive amount of star former Wildcats, such as Devin Booker, De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo, and Anthony Davis.
The football program is also in great shape, having ranked as high as 7th in the country at points of last season. With QB Will Levis heading to the NFL, the Wildcats have reloaded and potentially upgraded with Devin Leary coming to Lexington. When football comes, Kentucky residents will be thrilled to have access to college sports betting so they can support their Wildcats all fall.
College basketball in Kentucky isn’t just for the Wildcats and their fans; the Louisville men’s hoops team actually won March Madness more recently than Kentucky, although the title was later vacated after an NCAA investigation.
The school hasn’t accomplished quite as much in regards to the football program, but there’s been plenty to cheer about in recent years; they defeated their old coach’s new team in the Fenway Bowl last season, and have an exciting new skipper coming in this fall.
Of course, no football fan will ever forget Lamar Jackson’s legendary 2016 campaign, which included some huge wins for the team, and the program’s only Heisman Trophy, something the Wildcats do not have.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Western Kentucky may not be as well-known as some of its in-state neighbors, but the football program has provided us with some intrigue over recent years.
Just in 2021, WKU quarterback Bailey Zappe set the FBS record for most passing yards in a season with an incredible total of 5,967. Brandon Doughty’s 2015 season for the Hilltoppers sits in 14th on the same list, one spot ahead of Patrick Mahomes’s best season.
Doughty also participated in the 2014 Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl, one of the craziest games to ever happen In any sport. In that matchup, the Hilltoppers all but surrendered a 49-14 fourth-quarter lead to the Central Michigan Chippewas, but stopped what would have been a game-winning two-point conversion.
While they aren’t technically located in the state, the Cincinnati Bengals are a Kentucky fan favorite, and will certainly be one of the most wagered-upon teams when Kentucky online sports betting launches. With an incredible young core led by Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins, the Cincy offense is in great shape for years to come, and the defense has shown an incredible ability to step up in the big spots.
The defense showed that ability more than ever in the 2021-22 playoffs, when they helped the team win the AFC with a string of upset victories. With the team seen as legitimate favorites now, we’ll see if Kentucky’s favorite NFL team can finally get the job done and win the big one.
First known as the Red Stockings, the Reds are believed by many to be the oldest fully-professional baseball team, and thus, sports team, in the United States. Like the Bengals, they’re located in Ohio, but just across the river from Kentucky and thus have a major fan base within the state.
Pete Rose got in trouble for betting on the Reds, but with legal sports betting in Kentucky, you can do it safely and responsibly. With the online sportsbooks launching in late September, and the Reds looking to make a playoff push, there could be a great opportunity to bet on a Cincy playoff run this October.
Kentucky Sportsbook Banking Options
- Credit (Visa, Mastercard, etc.)
- Online Banking
- Apple Pay
- Wire Transfer
- Credit (Visa, Mastercard, etc.)
- Online Banking
- Apple Pay
Kentucky Responsible Gambling Resources
Gambling is a great way to have fun and make some money, but it’s very important to do so mindfully. It goes almost without saying that anyone engaging in Kentucky online sports betting or retail betting safely and responsibly must be of legal gambling age.
There is a wide array of tools and resources for KY sports bettors who need help controlling their behaviors; for most online sportsbooks, you can set deposit limits, or give yourself a timeout by setting a certain time before which the site will not let you place bets.
You can also contact the National Council for Problem Gambling anytime you need support by either phone call or text at 1-800-GAMBLER.
More on Kentucky Sports Betting
With legal retail and online sports betting coming to Kentucky, there will be a wide variety of ways to play for bettors within the state. Sports betting sites and apps will be ready to go on September 28th, and there are expected to be eight different apps and websites to choose from when that time comes.
From $1,000 no-sweat bets to automatic $200 bonus cash, there will be no shortage of promotions and exclusive bonuses ready for first-time players when the apps become usable in Kentucky.
Sports betting legalization has hit the United States in waves, and Kentucky is one of the few states that has started things up essentially on its own, making this launch unique. It will be an extremely welcome change for a state that already has a long history with betting, due to the historical horse racing tradition.
Kentucky Sports Betting FAQ
Can I place a sports bet online in Kentucky?
While the legislation to legalize sports betting is in place, the regulatory process is not complete. As such, you cannot yet start sports betting in Kentucky, but you will be able to do so starting on September 28th.
When can I place a bet in person in Kentucky?
Retail sports betting launches will take place on September 7th. Players within the state can start sports betting at in-person retail locations starting then.
Which Kentucky sports betting sites are legal?
While you can’t start betting on any sites in Kentucky just yet, several sportsbooks have applied for their legal Kentucky sports betting licenses.
This group includes operators such as FanDuel, DraftKings, Bet365, Caesars, Circa, PENN (ESPN Bet), BetMGM, and Fanatics.
It’s important to note that offshore sports betting sites do not have authorization to operate within the US.
How old do I have to be to place a sports bet in Kentucky?
Kentucky requires you to be 18 years of age or older to participate in sports betting. However, most sportsbooks have stated they will require customers to be 21 or older to sign up for an account.
What DFS options are available in Kentucky?
One of the most popular varieties of sports betting is Daily Fantasy Sports, or DFS. By far the most prominent providers of these contests are the sites that originated them, FanDuel and DraftKings.