Sports Betting in Kentucky: Here’s What You Need to Know

Published 6:55 am Monday, October 2, 2023

In a little over two weeks, sports betting will officially be legal in Kentucky. Beginning Thursday, September 7, in-person bets can be placed at any of the seven horse tracks and their satellite facilities where betting is allowed. The date coincides with the highly-anticipated kickoff of the NFL regular season and legalizes wagering in time for most of the college football season, too.

Then, beginning September 28, online wagering will be permitted on any of the eight mobile service providers permitted to operate in the state. This article will explore the Kentucky sports betting landscape as the state prepares to open legal wagering early next month and provide tips on how you can get in on the action.

The Path to Legalization: How Did We Get Here?

The historic legislation legalizing sports betting, House Bill 551, was signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear earlier this year. The next step was for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) to approve the emergency administrative regulations necessary to launch the state’s sports betting industry, which Gov. Beshear approved in early July.

Email newsletter signup

After significant decisions by the state Horse Racing Commission, a total of 17 licenses were approved, with some in the process of being operational. The interim licenses allow each provider to operate for up to a year while continuing to be reviewed by the state of Kentucky. KHRC Commissioner, Jon Rabinowitz, seemed confident they will be able to meet the governor’s goal of rolling everything out by the NFL kickoff. “Deadlines spur action,” he said. “We are well on course to hit that date and I see no hurdles.”

New Legislation Will Keep Millions of Kentucky Dollars in the Bluegrass State.

Governor Beshear has been encouraging legislators for over two and a half years to pass sports betting legislation so the state can receive new revenue support for public education and public pensions. “We have an urgency to keep millions of Kentucky dollars from crossing our rivers,” the governor told lawmakers. The bill was seen by many as a bipartisan opportunity—and a win-win for Kentucky businesses and taxpayers alike.

The governor’s office predicts an increase in revenue of around $23 million annually. Additionally, the measure will enact additional excise taxes on sports wagering, with 9.75% being applied to the adjusted gross revenues of bets made in licensed establishments and 14.25% being applied to bets made online or via a mobile device. As for taxes on winnings, players should anticipate paying a 6% income tax as well as a 25% federal tax rate on profits above $5,000. These taxes can be used for various things, such as increasing pay for teachers or road repair.

Where Can You Place Your Bets?

On September 7, betting will be permitted at the following locations:

  • Churchill Downs (Louisville)
  • Derby City Gaming (Louisville)
  • Derby City Gaming (Downtown Louisville*)
  • Ellis Park (Henderson)
  • Ellis Park (Owensboro*)
  • The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland Run (Corbin)
  • The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland (Williamsburg)
  • Newport Racing and Gaming  (Newport)
  • Oak Grove Gaming and Racing (Oak Grove)
  • The Red Mile (Lexington)
  • Sandy’s Gaming and Racing (Ashland*)
  • Turfway Park (Florence)

*= Coming soon

The following mobile providers are permitted to operate beginning September 28:

  • Bet365
  • BetMGM
  • Caesars
  • Circa
  • DraftKings
  • Fanatics
  • FanDuel
  • Penn Sports Interactive

Sports Betting Tips and Strategies for Beginners

If you’re a beginner looking to get into sports betting in Kentucky, here are some tips and strategies to help you get started:

1. Know the Basics: Spend some time learning the fundamentals of sports betting before becoming involved. Discover the many kinds of bets, odds and how to read them.

2. Establish a Budget: It’s crucial to establish a budget for your wagering on sports. Avoid chasing losses and only wager with money you can afford to lose. Don’t stray from your spending plan, and control your emotions when placing bets.

3. Research and Analyze: Do your homework on the teams or players involved before making any bets. Consider their most recent play, their head-to-head history, any injuries they may have.

4. Compare Odds: For the same event, several sportsbooks may give varying odds. To be sure you’re receiving the most value for your bets, spend some time comparing odds from several sportsbooks. Your overall earnings might be significantly impacted by even a tiny shift in the chances.

5. Start with Familiar Sports: Start with a sport you are familiar with if you are new to sports betting. Your knowledge of the game will give you a higher chance of placing winning bets.

Final Thoughts

As a result of the new law, Kentucky became the 38th state in the US to permit sports betting. “The odds were against us,” Governor Beshear said. “But we were determined to get sports betting passed in Kentucky. And we got it done.” As the deadline for legal sports betting in Kentucky draws nearer, betting enthusiasts are eager to participate in this exciting new form of entertainment. If you are thinking about getting involved, always keep in mind that gambling on sports should only be done for fun.