Kentucky Sports Betting

KY Online Sportsbook Launch Updates for Bettors 2023


Action Network check mark Updated August 23, 2023

Kentucky sports betting is now legal! Rep. Michael Meredith's bill (HB 551), which passed the House and Senate in March, was signed by Governor Andy Beshear in early March 2023. More recently, it was announced that Kentucky will launch online sports betting in the state on September 28th, 2023, early on in the 2023-2024 NFL Season. 

Latest sports betting news in Kentucky:

  • Pre-registration for licensed mobile sportsbook operators will begin on August 28, 2023 (6 AM), which is 11 days before in-person wagering is set to open in Kentucky.
  • Approved online and retail sportsbooks will be announced on August 22, 2023 by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

HB 551 is now the law of the land in KY, and allows for:

  • Online and retail betting (at racetracks)
  • Online betting taxed at 14.25%
  • Nine licensed horsetracks can offer in-person betting and up to three sportsbook "skins"
    • for a total of 27 possible sportsbooks in KY
  • Betting will be allowed for anyone 18+

While the legislation is now set in stone, sports betting hasn't officially launched yet. Additional time is needed to prepare the state for legal betting. With gubernatorial backing, the state is set to be launching physical sports betting on September 7th and online sports betting on September 28th. 

While waiting, KY residents can play PrizePicks, which is a leading Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) provider. PrizePicks is a unique over/under platform that prompts users to select their favorite players from KY teams like the Cincinnati Reds or the Tennessee Titans. 

New users can use PrizePicks' promo code worth up to $100 in first-time deposit matching today!

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KY Sports Betting Overview, Timeline and Background

Timeline for sports betting in Kentucky

Pre-registration for Kentucky sports betting will begin on Aug. 28 after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announces licensed operators on Aug. 22, 2023.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed HB 551 into a law on March 31, 2023. Following the bill signing, there is a 3 month wait for the law to officially take effect on June 28, 2023. On June 29, Gov. Beshear mentioned plans for launching by the start of the upcoming NFL season. Once HB 551 is officially in place, the race for sports betting in Kentucky will reach the home stretch as top mobile sportsbook companies make plays for in-state licensing. Once the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, who was appointed the sports betting regulator, is confident that they're ready to go - they'll give the "OK" and online betting will commence in Kentucky. 

Overall, it's been recently announced that KY online sports betting will begin on September 28th, 2023, just in time for most of the NFL season. Physical sports betting at approved locations will launch on September 7th. 

18+ Betting Allowed in KY

Count Kentucky among a strong minority of states that has extended sports betting privileges to persons just eighteen and up. As the sports betting in the US has scaled up, 21 was adopted as a near-universal age requirement. However, KY has bucked that trend. Why you might ask? It comes down to horse racing. Kentucky has a strong horse racing tradition and the legal betting age for horse racing is 18. Therefore, regulators felt it didn't make sense for horse racing to have a lower age of entry than sports betting. 

Keep an eye on each specific online sportsbook in Kentucky, though. While they may be legally allowed to offer betting to those 18+, sportsbooks won't have to accept younger customers. KY online sportsbooks, and their renewed focus on responsible gaming, may still elect to set their apps to 21+.

Online Sportsbooks in Kentucky

Kentucky will soon be home to as many as 27 different KY online sports betting apps. There are currently nine horse racing tracks in the state of Kentucky, and each is now eligible to host as many as 3 online sports betting skins. While we're still waiting for the landscape of sports betting in KY to become clear, we do have some information. The following seven online sportsbooks have applied for a mobile gaming license in KY:

Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky

Caesars Sportsbook will bring its exceptional sports betting app to Kentucky through a market access agreement with the Red Mile and Keeneland race tracks. Notably, Caesars has stated that they will only allow customers who are 21+ to bet through them, despite the legal age for KY betting being set at just 18.

BetMGM Kentucky

BetMGM Sportsbook will be joining Caesars thanks to a market access agreement with Revolutionary Racing Kentucky! Of course, BetMGM will provide their online sportsbook in Kentucky, but there also will be a massive retail sportsbook in Ashland. 

FanDuel Kentucky

As expected, market leader FanDuel Sportsbook also submitted their mobile betting application to operate legally in Kentucky. FanDuel already secured a partnership with Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. 

bet365 Kentucky

European operator bet365 Sportsbook has also applied to become one of the major mobile Kentucky platforms.

DraftKings Kentucky

DraftKings Sportsbook has applied to operate it's mobile sports betting platform alongside it's DFS offerings in Kentucky. 

ESPN BET Kentucky (PENN Entertainment)

PENN Entertainment's newly re-branded ESPN Bet is expected to launch it's highly-anticipated online sportsbook in Kentucky this fall. 

Circa Sportsbook Kentucky

Las Vegas-based sportsbook Circa has applied as it looks to enter its fourth market after having an existing presence in Nevada, Colorado, and Iowa.

Retail Sports Betting Applicants

Below, you'll find the seven (out of nine) retail betting locations that have applied to open physical sportsbooks in Kentucky.  

  • Churchill Downs Racetrack (FanDuel)
  • Cumberland Run Harness Track
  • Ellis Park Racing & Gaming
  • Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel
  • Red Mile Racetrack (Caesars)
  • Sandy's Gaming & Racing (BetMGM)
  • Turfway Park Racing & Gaming

Stay tuned for more updates!

Kentucky Sports Betting Background

The legalization of sports betting in Kentucky has been a multi-year journey. Let's take a look at the process that led to HB 551, which delivered online sports betting to Kentucky.


2023 saw representatives like Rep. Michael Meredith propose new sports betting bills after a collective failure to legalize the practice four years and counting. Fifth time's the charm, as HB 551 was able to get enough signatures on both sides of the aisle to advance, and was signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear in early April 2023. 

Now, all that's left to do is for regulators at the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to issue online sports betting licenses to eligible operators. That can take some time: we'll keep you up to date on when you can bet online in KY right here.

In late June, Gov. Beshear announced plans of launching sports betting in Kentucky by the start of the upcoming NFL season, which would be Sept. 7, 2023.


The Kentucky General Assembly ended its 2022 session in mid-April without passing a bill to legalize sports betting, despite support from Gov. Andy Beshear and leadership in both chambers. It’s the fourth year in a row where legislation has fallen short, and passing a bill next year will be even harder.

Rep. Adam Koenig’s bill would have legalized retail and online sports betting through racetracks and casinos and generated an estimated $22.5 million in annual revenue for the state.

It passed the house in March but failed to get enough Republican support in the Senate. With most Senate Democrats on board, there appeared to be enough Senate Republicans in favor to meet the 20-vote threshold for passage. The Kentucky GOP typically doesn’t vote unless there’s consensus among themselves, and sources close to the legislature said they came up just four votes shy of meeting that majority. Lawmakers were forced wave the white flag for 2022.

Most of Kentucky’s neighbor states have already legalized sports betting. More than a third of Kentucky counties border its legal neighbor states, which is about 2.4 million people. Last year those states made a combined $173.1 million off sports betting taxes—about $34 million a state.

Kentucky Sports Betting Tips

Basketball icon Sports Betting for Beginners

If you’re new to sports betting, you likely have questions: How much should you be betting? Where should you be betting on the Kentucky Wildcats? How do you find the best odds? Every sport and bet type comes with different nuances. Our sports betting tips for beginners can help you make savvier decisions come game time.

Baseball icon Sports Betting Glossary

Sports betting comes with its own language and terminology -- favorites and underdogs, spreads and money lines, over/unders and props, juice and vig and so much more. It can all be a bit overwhelming and intimidating for newer betting enthusiasts, so be sure to consult our sports betting glossary for detailed definitions on all the main terms.

Football icon Sports Betting Mistakes to Avoid

Sports betting isn't easy. It’s important to stay disciplined and not overextend yourself. There will always be ups and downs, but if you stay true to our sports betting mistakes to avoid, your sports betting experience will be a much more enjoyable one.

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Kentucky Teams
Kentucky team logo Kentucky Wildcats
Louisville football Louisville Cardinals
Murray State logo Murray State Racers
Western Kentucky logo Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Eastern Kentucky logo Eastern Kentucky Colonels

Kentucky Teams to Bet on

While Kentucky is yet to be home to a professional sports team, it has no shortage of college teams to bet on:

College Sports Teams in KY

Kentucky is a hub for college basketball and football. The Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals consistently field great teams –– which allows for interesting bet opportunities.

NCAA football icon logo College Football Betting in KY

Kentucky is often overshadowed in college football circles by neighbors Louisiana and Alabama, but the Bluegrass State is on the rise. Kentucky has been a rising force in the SEC with Mark Stoops at the helm, and Louisville is showing signs of life in the ACC. Plus, there are a number of smaller schools sprinkled throughout the state that will be available for college football betting in the state.

Kentucky team logo Kentucky Wildcats Football

While not the university's most successful program, Kentucky football has built a decent program over the last few decades. They also boast a proud history. Remember Paul "Bear" Bryant? Well before Bryant won six National Championships at Alabama, he coached the Wildcats for eight seasons.

The Wildcats have a 638-635-44 all-time record and a 12-9 bowl record. They claim one National Championship (1950) and have a four-game bowl win streak since winning the Citrus Bowl in the 2018 season. They're led by coach Mark Stoops –– who landed them the 13th best recruiting class in 2022.

Kentucky Wildcats Odds

Louisville football Louisville Cardinals Football

Johnny Unitas, Lamar Jackson, Jay Gruden and Teddy Bridgewater. These are just a few names that donned red and black jerseys during their college days. The Cardinals have both historic and recent success.

Louisville had a Heisman-winning quarterback and a top 10 ranking most of the season in 2016 –– which was one of the best years in program history. Since then, they've been through coaching changes and a slight rebuild. Since coach Scott Satterfield took over in 2019, the Cardinals have an 18-19 record with two bowl appearances. 

Louisville Cardinals Odds

Western Kentucky logo Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Football

With coaches like Jack Harbaugh, Willie Taggart, Bobby Petrino and Jeff Brohm all coaching the Hilltoppers at some point in their careers, Western Kentucky serves as a launching point for great coaching careers. In turn, this has brought the program a lot of success over the years. The Hilltoppers have a 587-409-31 all-time record, a 9-5 bowl record and an FCS National Championship win in 2002.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Odds

Eastern Kentucky logo Eastern Kentucky Colonels Football

The Eastern Kentucky Colonels are located in Richmond, Kentucky, and play their home games at Roy Kidd Stadium. They compete in the Division I FCS division and joined the ASUN conference in 2021. They have a 602-386-38 all-time record and a 4-3 record in bowls. They claim two FCS National Championships, one in 1979 and the other in 1982

Eastern Kentucky Colonels Odds

NCAA Basketball LogoCollege Basketball Betting in Kentucky

Kentucky, at its core, is a basketball state. The Wildcats are second to UCLA in Mens Basketball National Titles with 8, and Louisville has had been excellent over the years.

Kentucky team logo Kentucky Wildcats Men's Basketball

The winningest team in college basketball history resides in Lexington, Kentucky, at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats are the pinnacle of college hoops success. They have 2,327 wins, the all-time greatest winning percentage (.765), eight National Titles and are consistently on top of the recruiting rankings.

They're led by coach John Calipari. Calipari is the 17th winningest head coach in college basketball history and has four––six if you count the vacated ones –– Final Four appearances. Their 2022 team is currently a top-10 team, making them a safe team to bet on.

Kentucky Wildcats Odds

Louisville basketball logo Louisville Cardinals Men's Basketball

Despite a constant overshadowing by their neighbors in Lexington, the Cardinals are one of the most decorated college hoops programs in Division I. They technically have two National Titles since their third win (in 2013) was vacated.

The Cardinals are going through growing pains in 2022. Former Xavier coach Chris Mack coached the Cardinals from 2018 to 2022, but was let go in January 2022. Mike Pegues is their interim coach. 

Louisville Cardinals Odds

Murray State logo Murray State Racers Men's Basketball

True to the state's horse racing background, the Murray State Racers are a team that can get hot at any moment. They have 17 NCAA tournament appearances and a slew of All-American players in their team's history. Most notably, 2019 NBA second overall pick Ja Morant played for Murray State, proving that top talent can wind up in Murray, Kentucky.

Murray State Racers Odds

Other Events

Horse Racing

Each May, thousands of people flock to the Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky, for the world-famous Kentucky Derby. The most talented Thoroughbred horses in the world compete in the one and one-fourth mile-long race. Because of this, a ridiculous amount of bets are placed on it. 2021 saw $155.4 million in total bets placed on the race. Horse gambling is legal in Kentucky, so betters can easily gamble on which horse they think will win.

2022 Kentucky Derby Futures Odds & Prep Races

Kentucky Sports Gambling Locations

Kentucky Derby

The most popular horse race in the world takes place at the Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. The Kentucky Derby has ran annually since 1875. The most talented Thoroughbred horses compete in the one and one-fourth mile-long race. Horse gambling is legal in Kentucky, so gamblers can easily bet on which horse they think will win.

Kentucky stadium
Steve Petrella is a senior editor for The Action Network covering college football, among other things. He’s a Penn State grad now based in Atlanta who enjoys great punting, clock-killing drives and turnovers in the red zone.
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Kentucky Sports Betting FAQ
Commonly asked questions about sports betting in The Bluegrass State.
Is online sports betting legal in Kentucky?
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Will sports betting ever come to Kentucky?
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Are there any current legal options for sports betting in Kentucky?
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Is it legal to bet on horse racing in Kentucky?
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Who should I bet on in the 2024 Kentucky Derby?
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