Published: September 8, 2023

Kentucky Retail Sports Betting Officially Goes Live, becoming the thirty-fifth state to allow sports betting

Kentucky officially launched retail betting on Thursday, September 7. They became the thirty-fifth state to allow some form of sports betting. A total of nine brick-and-mortar sportsbooks opened, all of which are located at racetracks or racinos. All but one of those locations will be operated by Churchill Downs Incorporated, which owns most of Kentucky’s top horse racing tracks.

“Today is a great day to celebrate and have a little bit of fun doing so,” a press release from Beshear said. “It has taken many years to get here, but sports wagering is finally a reality in Kentucky. This is a win-win for Kentuckians, who can enjoy a quality entertainment experience and benefit from funds staying right here in our state to help us build a better Kentucky.”

Three more retail sportsbooks have received temporary licenses to open but have yet to announce launch dates. Currently, Kentuckians can find a sportsbook at the following locations:

  • Churchill Downs
  • Turfway Park
  • The Mint Gaming Hall at Cumberland Run in Corbin
  • The Mint Gaming Hall at Cumberland Run in Williamsburg
  • Ellis Park in Henderson
  • Oak Grove
  • Derby City Gaming
  • Red Mile
  • Newport Racing and Gaming

Online sports betting in Kentucky is also legal and set to go live on September 28. 

Kentucky’s Sports Betting Law Is Unique

While Kentucky will strictly enforce its new sports betting laws, the ones they have enacted have created a very open market. While many of their neighbors have prohibited several types of bets, Kentucky’s law is far more lenient. The new law allows betting on in-state college teams, college props, and e-sports. Very few states in the Midwest offer all three of those, making Kentucky a destination for bettors in the region.

The other significant difference is that Kentucky only requires bettors to be 18 years old to wager on sports. Very few states have set the minimum age that low, leaving industry experts surprised that a notoriously conservative state would do so. However, Churchill Downs is the only sportsbook operator who has confirmed they will accept bets from players under the age of 21.

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