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Kentucky Sports Betting: Outlook for 2023

After years of discussion and debate, legal Kentucky sports betting is officially here. Soon, up to 27 of the best sportsbooks and apps will become available to Bluegrass State bettors. 

Read our complete guide on legal sports betting in Kentucky, which contains information on launch dates, projected bonuses and promos, how to start wagering, and more.

Affiliate Disclosure: Sportsbook Review may receive advertising commissions for visits to a sportsbook betting site.

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Kentucky sports betting at a glance

  • Launch date: Late 2023, early 2024
  • Legal sportsbooks: Up to 27 online sportsbooks coming
  • Legal betting age: 18
  • Promotions: Exclusive Kentucky welcome bonuses coming

Is Kentucky sports betting legal?

Yes, Kentucky sports betting is now legal. On March 31, 2023, Governor Andy Beshear signed House Bill 551 into law, setting the stage for it to take effect on June 28, 2023. After nearly five years of back and forth, KY bettors will finally have access to regulated sportsbooks starting in late 2023 or early 2024.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will oversee all sports betting activity in the state and will spend the next six months fabricating a regulatory framework. Each of KY’s nine horse racing tracks — all of which will house retail sportsbooks — will have the opportunity to partner with up to three mobile sports betting operators, paving the way for 27 possible online sportsbooks.

Kentucky sports betting key developments and updates

May 16, 2023: Caesars announces it's partnering with Keeneland and The Red Mile in Lexington for both mobile and retail sports betting. Additionally, Caesars will limit sports betting to those 21 or older, despite KY law allowing anyone over 18 to wager.

May 6, 2023: Mage and jockey Javier Castellano, at 15-1 odds, come from behind to win the 2023 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

April 18, 2023: The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission meets to discuss the process of drafting regulations for legal sports betting. A deadline has yet to be set for the rules to be put in place.

April 12, 2023: While multiple politicians have suggested that Kentuckians will be able to place sports bets come football season, the KHRC has not backed those claims.

March 31, 2023: Governor Andy Beshear signs HB 551 into law, which will take effect in June 2023. Retail and online sports betting are set to arrive in late 2023 or early 2024.

March 30, 2023: The Senate votes to advance HB 551, 25-12. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Beshear for final approval.

March 29, 2023: DraftKings launches its DK Horse App ahead of the Kentucky Derby.

March 13, 2023: The Kentucky House passes HB 551 by a vote of 63-34, sending it onwards to the Senate.

Feb. 22, 2023: Rep. Michael Meredith introduces House Bill 551, which would legalize sports betting in the state.

April 14, 2022: House Bill 606 fails to garner momentum in the Senate and does not pass. Kentucky will go without legal sports betting in 2022.

Jan. 9, 2021: House Bill 241 is introduced. Although hopes are high, the bill ultimately fails.

May 2018: The United States Supreme Court repeals the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), permitting individual states to decide whether or not to legalize sports betting.

Kentucky sports betting quick facts

🚀 KY apps launch dateLate 2023 (est.)
➡️ Legal betting age18+
🔔 KY regulatorKentucky Horse Racing Commission
▶️ Sports betting licensesUp to 27
📱 Online sports bettingComing soon
🎰 Retail sports bettingComing soon
🖥️ Online casinosNo
🃏 Online pokerNo
🏆 Sports betting appsUp to 27
🌎 State population4.5 million
💵 Projected annual tax revenue$23 million

Likely Kentucky sports betting sites

Though House Bill 551 has been signed into law, it won’t take effect until June 2023, after which the state’s regulator has up to six months to develop a framework for legal Kentucky sports betting sites and apps to launch. So, while nothing is official, some of the nation’s industry-leading operators are expected to bring their services to the Bluegrass State soon.

Here are the sportsbook operators Kentuckians should expect will earn licenses from the KHRC, followed by our list of the best options:

Kentucky sportsbookBest known for
BarstoolPersonality-driven promos
BetMGMKing of Parlays
CaesarsLucrative welcome bonus
DraftKingsIndustry leader
FanDuelHighly-rated mobile app
PointsBetPointsBetting™ bet type

DraftKings Kentucky

Based on the operator’s history of entering new markets swiftly, expect DraftKings to be part of the first batch of legal Kentucky sportsbooks to launch. Now synonymous with the industry, DraftKings boasts a silky-smooth betting app and some of the best sportsbook promos and bonuses that will attract new players and keep existing ones satisfied. You won’t need a DraftKings promo code to claim its welcome offer.

  • App store ratings: 4.8 (iOS), 4.6 (Android)
  • Sign-up bonus: TBD
  • Payout speed: 1-7 business days

Aching to learn more about DraftKings before it enters Kentucky? Read our DraftKings review.

FanDuel Kentucky

FanDuel has built one of the country’s most prolific online sports betting platforms and makes our lists for the best Kentucky Derby betting sites and horse racing betting sites. Kentucky bettors can anticipate an elite user experience that includes a wide range of sports markets, one of the top betting apps available, easy-to-access banking methods, best-in-class customer support, and industry-leading security. No FanDuel promo code will be required when signing up for the iconic sportsbook.

  • App store ratings: 4.8 (iOS), 4.7 (Android)
  • Sign-up bonus: TBD
  • Payout speed: 1-7 business days

To discover more about what FanDuel will bring to Kentucky, dig into our detailed FanDuel review.

Caesars Kentucky 

Often considered the top-rated sportsbook in several states, Caesars’ global brand has made waves thanks to launching a successful online sports betting product around the U.S. Should Kentucky regulators license the long-time gaming company, expect Caesars to offer a lucrative first bet insurance welcome bonus — sure to be one of the top Kentucky sports betting promos and bonuses — alongside its premier loyalty rewards program. Keep an eye out for the active Caesars promo code when the sportsbook launches.

  • App store ratings: 4.6 (iOS), 4.5 (Android)
  • Sign-up bonus: TBD
  • Payout speed: 1-5 business days

For more expert insight and analysis, give our Caesars review a read.

BetMGM Kentucky

BetMGM has branded itself the “King of Parlays,” centered around offering more of the popular bet type than any other sportsbook. Not only will Kentuckians find plenty of markets for building their ideal wagers, but live in-game betting — BetMGM is one of the top live betting sites — seamless banking, consistent promotions, and early cash out options will help BetMGM stand out amongst its peers.

  • App store ratings: 4.8 (iOS), 4.6 (Android)
  • Sign-up bonus: TBD
  • Payout speed: 2-8 business days

Check out our thorough BetMGM review to uncover more about the sportsbook before it arrives in the Bluegrass State.

PointsBet Kentucky

The Australia-based sportsbook operator has recently grown its footprint significantly in the U.S. and may look to step into the Bluegrass State once KY sports betting is officially live. Aside from a high-quality user experience and mobile app, PointsBet is known for its flexible promotions, competitive odds, and proprietary bet types — namely, PointsBetting and in-play same-game parlays. No PointsBet promo code will be necessary here, either.

  • App store ratings: 4.8 (iOS), 4.6 (Android)
  • Sign-up bonus: TBD
  • Payout speed: 1-5 business days

Rifle through our complete PointsBet review for a big-picture look at the potential Kentucky sports betting site.

Kentucky sports betting neighbors

Six of Kentucky’s seven border states have already legalized sports betting. Here are some key pieces of information on each if you’re eager to wager before KY sports betting arrives:


  • Illinois sports betting launch date: March 9, 2020
  • Number of online sportsbooks: 7
  • Remote registration: Yes
  • Tax rate: 15%


  • Indiana sports betting launch date: Sept. 1, 2019
  • Number of online sportsbooks: 13
  • Remote registration: Yes
  • Tax rate: 9.5%


  • Ohio sports betting launch date: Jan. 1, 2023
  • Number of online sportsbooks: 17
  • Remote registration: Yes
  • Tax rate: 33%




  • Virginia sports betting launch date: Jan. 21, 2021
  • Number of online sportsbooks: 15
  • Remote registration: Yes
  • Tax rate: 15%

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce reported that between March 1 and March 30, 2023, more than 1 million sports bettors in Kentucky tried to place a wager via online sportsbooks and sports betting apps they signed up for in neighboring states. Due to geofencing software employed by operators, those KY bettors were prevented from making any bets, but those numbers could translate into thousands of dollars in tax revenue this time next year.

How to start betting in Kentucky

For some, it may be a futures ticket on the University of Kentucky Wildcats to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship. For others, it may be placing a wager on the Kentucky Derby or betting on the Cincinnati Reds to win their next game. Whatever your draw to betting, you will be able to wager to your heart’s content when Kentucky sports betting sites and apps go live.

Though the official launch of online sportsbooks is still several months away, we’ve put together a simple step-by-step guide to help prepare you for placing your first legal bet.

1. Select a licensed Kentucky sportsbook 

The first step in choosing a betting site will be to find a regulated sportsbook that caters to your needs. Kentucky will provide a handful of options at launch, and evaluating the welcome bonus, in-game offerings, variety of bet types, and customer support is essential before making your decision. 

Once you have chosen a sportsbook, download its associated betting app to your phone for the most seamless experience.

2. Register online

The next step will be to sign up for a new account, which you can do on a desktop or via the mobile app. The operator will require you to present basic personal information such as your full name, address, email address, date of birth, and social security number — the latter helps verify your identity.

After that, you’ll be asked to create a unique username and password. Passwords should be at least eight characters long and combine upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

3. Deposit and claim a bonus

Following registration, it’ll be time to head to the cashier to make a first deposit. Kentucky online sportsbooks will likely accept major credit and debit cards, bank wire transfers, third-party services like PayPal, and other e-wallets. Remember to enter any promo codes required to claim welcome bonus perks.

4. Select and finalize your bet

With funds filling your sportsbook account, you’ll want to look around and dissect the available betting markets. Add your preferred choices to your bet slip and submit it to finalize your wager. Novice players may want to focus on what they know best — like Kentucky and Louisville betting lines and the three most common bet types in moneylines, point spreads, and point totals — while veterans can stretch their wings with same-game parlays, live in-game betting, teasers, and futures.

If you’re wagering for the first time, we highly recommend checking out our thorough how to bet on sports guide.

5. Withdraw your winnings

If you win your bet, you’ll likely want to request a withdrawal and enjoy the spoils. Head back to the cashier to make your request. It typically takes even the best online sportsbook for payouts up to five business days to drop funds in your preferred account. Keep in mind that requesting a physical check to be mailed to your residence may take up to 15 business days.

What’s missing from Kentucky sports betting?

While Kentucky’s future in sports betting is mostly set in stone, there are some gray areas regarding what events online sportsbooks will and will not be able to offer.


Federal law does not allow online and retail sportsbooks to offer odds on political events. So, betting on politics in Kentucky will be illegal once sports betting apps launch later this year.

Entertainment award ceremonies

Entertainment award ceremonies, like the Oscars, Grammys, and Emmys, are not mentioned in Kentucky’s legal sports betting bill. You may have the option to wager on these events down the road.


Esports will be legal to wager on once sports betting goes live in Kentucky. Those who know the ins and outs of video game tournament betting will have a leg up on legal KY sportsbooks.

What about daily fantasy sports?

For all the effort put into legalizing online sports betting in Kentucky, daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests remain in a gray market, meaning you can wager on them at outlets like DraftKings and FanDuel.

Kentucky college sports betting

Former Rep. Adam Koenig, known as Kentucky’s “sports betting OG,” not only spearheaded several bills over the years but created amendments to remove the ban on in-state college betting. Now, Bluegrass State bettors will have the opportunity to wager on the likes of the Kentucky Wildcats or the Louisville Cardinals.

Betting on football in fall 2023 may also become a reality for KY bettors, with Rep. Al Gentry stating that getting online sports betting in Kentucky up and running within six months is “a realistic goal.”

Kentucky sports leagues and teams to bet on

Although Kentucky isn’t home to any major professional sports franchises, there will undoubtedly be plenty of action on the Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals. Regional pro sports teams, such as the Cincinnati Reds, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Indianapolis Colts, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Nashville Predators, should satiate those looking to wager on one or more of the big four leagues.

But don’t forget — whether you bleed Wildcats blue or Bengals orange, wagering with your brain rather than your heart is vital. It’s great to support the home team but don’t let emotional attachment lead you when filling out a bet slip. Learn how to manage your bankroll and do your homework on each matchup, paying attention to weather forecasts, injury updates, and depth chart changes.

Cincinnati BengalsMemphis GrizzliesCincinnati RedsNashville Predators
Indianapolis Colts

Due to the popularity of professional horse racing in the state, namely the Kentucky Derby, local bettors may also emphasize other niche sports like F1 racing and Major League Soccer.

Ensure you take the time to scour the top sportsbooks for specific sports, leagues, and events ahead of Kentucky's launch:

Kentucky sports betting taxes

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear wasted no time broadcasting via Twitter how newly-passed House Bill 551 would benefit taxpayers, noting that the state will “keep those [sports betting] dollars to support our roads and bridges, schools and communities.”

Existing horse tracks opening retail sportsbooks will have to pay an initial license fee of $500,000 and kick in $50,000 for annual renewals. Online operators that partner with the nine racing tracks will pay a $50,000 license fee and $10,000 for yearly renewals. Retail sportsbooks will be taxed at a rate of 9.75%, while online sportsbook revenue will be taxed at 14.25%.

For individual bettors, winnings of more than $5,000 will be taxed at 6% by the state and 25% by the federal government. It’s important to keep an accurate account of your betting activity to reduce your tax burden.

Legal sports betting in Kentucky is projected to generate $23 million in annual tax revenue. The estimate is based on neighboring Tennessee’s market, which saw $68 million in tax revenue for 2022.

Responsible Kentucky sports betting

House Bill 551 states that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will oversee all sports betting activity in the region since it has “demonstrated a long and successful history of regulating wagering.” The responsibilities and visions — such as horse racing betting integrity — of the KHRC should translate easily to Kentucky’s new sports betting landscape.

The KHRC will review operator applications, grant licenses, perform audits, enforce laws, and issue fines as necessary. It will also lead initiatives to encourage responsible betting and curb problem gambling. House Bill 551 banks 2.5% of tax revenue to put towards problem gambling resources, treatment, and prevention.

Sportsbooks to avoid in Kentucky

Kentucky bettors may only need to wait six more months before safe and legal online sportsbooks become available. Until then, resisting the urge to register with an offshore sportsbook is paramount. Neither federal nor state governments regulate these operators, which have been known to commit identity theft, fraudulent activity, and scams.

By the time the first batch of legal Kentucky betting sites launch, they will have been thoroughly reviewed and critiqued by the state’s governing body, have paid significant fees to earn their licenses, and have had to provide detailed plans for how they run their operations, making them as secure as possible. 

Here are a few examples of illegal offshore sites and the troubles they’ve caused customers:

❌ BetOnSports❌ TopBet❌ 131Sport
Blacklisted since 2006Over a dozen reported confiscated winningsBlacklisted since 2007
Grand jury indictmentHistory of scams
Over $16 million owedAbout $45,000 owed

List of Kentucky sports betting resources

The Kentucky General Assembly - Website for the state legislature.

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission - Website for KY's sports betting regulator.

Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling - Website for responsible gaming resources.

Kentucky sports betting FAQs

Is sports betting legal in Kentucky?

Yes, sports betting is legal in Kentucky. Betting on horse racing had already been legitimized, but following HB 551 being signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear, the Bluegrass State is now guaranteed to launch retail and online sports betting soon.

When will sports betting be legal in Kentucky?

It’s expected to take lawmakers at least six months to build a regulatory framework for legal Kentucky sports betting. Retail sportsbooks could open as early as the fall, while online betting sites are aiming for late 2023 or early 2024.

Is betting on horse racing legal in Kentucky?

Yes. You can legally bet on horse racing in Kentucky at the following nine racetracks: Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Keeneland Race Course, Kentucky Downs, Oak Grove Racing and Gaming, Turfway Park, Bluegrass Downs, The Red Mile, and Thunder Ridge.

Is online sports betting legal in Kentucky?

Online sports betting is not yet available in Kentucky; sportsbooks hope to open their virtual doors in late 2023 or early 2024.

When will online Kentucky sports betting go live?

Legal online Kentucky sports betting is expected to go live at the end of 2023 or early 2024.

Where can I bet on sports in Kentucky?

Currently, you cannot wager on sports in Kentucky. However, you can visit racetracks to wager on horse racing.

What sportsbooks are legal in Kentucky?

There are no legal sportsbooks in Kentucky. If everything goes as planned, the first sportsbooks should come online at the end of 2023 or early 2024.

Do you have to live in Kentucky to bet online?

No. When legal sports betting comes to Kentucky, you won’t need to live in the state to bet online. However, you will need to be physically within KY’s borders.

How do you place a sports bet in Kentucky?

Currently, there is no way to place a sports bet in Kentucky. Once legal sports betting arrives in late 2023 or early 2024, up to 27 online sportsbooks will become available.

Are sports betting apps legal in Kentucky?

Legal sports betting apps are expected to launch in Kentucky by the end of 2023 or early 2024.

What is the minimum age to bet in Kentucky?

You will need to be at least 18 years old to participate in sports betting in Kentucky.