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Online sports betting begins in Kentucky

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Online sports betting begins in Kentucky

Sep 28, 2023 | 10:37 am ET
By McKenna Horsley
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Online sports betting begins in Kentucky
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In-person sports betting opened across Kentucky on Sept. 7. On Thursday, online sports wagering began. Churchill Downs in Louisville is one one of the nine racetracks eligible to operate retail locations and partner with operators of sports betting apps. (Kentucky Lantern photo by McKenna Horsley)

Kentucky sports fans began placing online bets with mobile phones Thursday morning. 

As part of the state’s rollout for legalizing sports betting, mobile applications were approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in recent weeks. Users could also pre-register for accounts before Thursday in preparation to make wagers. 

Earlier this year, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear signed House Bill 551 after the legislation cleared the Republican-controlled General Assembly. In 2022, similar legislation was introduced but died in the Senate. Kentucky is the 37th state to legalize gambling on sports.

In-person sports betting opened Sept. 7. Politicians, including Beshear and Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, placed their bets at retail locations around Kentucky. 

Preliminary numbers show more than $4.5 million was wagered in Kentucky during the first two weekends of in-person sports betting, according to  a press release from the governor’s office last week,

Once fully implemented, sports betting is expected to bring in an estimated $23 million a year in state revenue. 

The new revenue will support sports betting oversight and then the Kentucky permanent pension fund.

Also, 2.5% of the funds will go to the Problem Gambling Assistance Fund, which provides education on safe gambling, the risks of a gambling problem and available resources to reduce consequences of problem gambling. 

To learn more about available resources, call or text 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537), visit KYCPG.org or email [email protected]