Is Sports Betting Legal in Kentucky? Explained

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Sports Betting
Sports Betting (Credit: Kiosk Information Systems)

Kentucky is often referred to as the world’s capital when it comes to the thoroughbred industry. Thoroughbreds are a breed of horses that are trained for the sole purpose of horse racing. This event gathers a lot of attention in the state, and in turn, the audience indulges in forms of betting which are commonly seen as illegal.

On the 31st of March, 2023, Governor Andy Beshear approved bill number HB-551, which resulted in the legalization of both online and in-person sports betting.

The governor hopes to make sports betting live by the 2023 NFL season, although the general public view is that betting apps and online sports betting sites won’t launch by at least 2024.

Kentucky online sports betting legislation 2023

HB-551 calls for the horse tracks in the states to partner with up to three operators each to provide the public with sports betting platforms.

The licensing fee for horse tracks is $500,000, and online sports betting operators have a licensing fee of $50,000.

Apart from the difference in licensing fees, tax rates for both forms of betting also differ. Online operators are to be taxed at 14.25%, whereas the operators who are based at the horse race track face a tax rate of just 9.75%. The tax rates are set at a competitive rate which allows for some competition to bring in sports betting apps in Kentucky.

Benefits of legalizing online sports betting in Kentucky

One of the main reasons for the legalization of betting in the state of Kentucky was that of convenience. The state believed that providing a platform where users can bet 24/7 rather than having to drive across state lines would be useful to them.

Having multiple betting apps or platforms would help the Kentucky population choose the most favorable bets.

Was there resistance to the legalization of sports betting?

Yes, in the state of Kentucky, lawmakers were against legalizing sports betting. Although sports betting isn’t seen as much of an issue, lawmakers were rejecting it on the basis of morality. Along with this, the Kentucky Family Foundation continues to actively wage a campaign against it.

Horse Race
Horse Race (Credit: Sports Illustrated)

People from the state who are against legalization view it as an urban-rural issue. The hypocrisy in the situation is that the same lawmakers who oppose the legalization of sports betting are the same lawmakers who approve the use of horse racing machines that operate like slot machines.

Kentucky sports betting revenue projections.

Those who were part of the legislation that approved sports betting in the state believe that it could generate around 25-30 Million Dollars in annual revenue. This is after taking into account the 14% tax on online betting and the 10% tax on in-person bets.

Currently, all of Kentucky’s neighboring states have legalized sports betting, which results in Kentucky losing a lot of tax money.

Potential Kentucky sports betting apps for 2023

  1. BetMGM Kentucky Sportsbook app
  2. Caesars Kentucky Sportsbook app
  3. FanDuel Kentucky Sportsbook App
  4. DraftKings Kentucky Sportsbook App
  5. Unibet Kentucky Sportsbook App
  6. PointsBet Kentucky Sportsbook App

Also Read: How Sports Betting Works? Explained


By Richard

All in one crazy for sports, especially baseball.

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