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Kentucky Wildcats mascot on the court as we look at the numbers from the start of Kentucky sports betting.
Kentucky Wildcats mascot on the court in the game between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Michigan State Spartans Spartans. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP.

The Kentucky legal sports betting industry continues to exceed expectations.

It has been just over three months since Kentucky launched its legal retail sports betting platform on Sept. 7 and about 10 weeks since Kentucky sports betting apps went live on Sept. 28. 

Already, legislators that had been pushing for legalization in the Blue Grass State are acknowledging that their revenue projections for the state's legal sports betting scene may have to be altered upward.

It's a good problem to have.

"It’s an incredible start, and if it continues, we will significantly exceed the $23 million in projected revenue from sports wagering,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “These tax dollars will support the oversight of sports wagering, establish a problem gambling fund, and primarily help our pension systems here in Kentucky.”

$656 million bet so far

During Gov. Andy Beshear's weekly press conference, he was able to identify just how successful his state's legal sports betting platform has been since its launch in September. Everyone has been taking advantage of the top Kentucky sportsbook promos in the early months.

While no official numbers have been released, Beshear was able to share that through the first two full months-plus of legal sports wagering in the Blue Grass State, $656 million has been wagered there. It equated to about $65.2 million per day being spent on Kentucky sports betting from an estimated 500,000 betting accounts that have been created in the Blue Grass State.

Kentucky’s best sportsbooks have dominated the action. Just over $629.5 million of the total $656 million handle has come from Kentucky’s best sports betting apps. About $26.9 million has been generated by the state's retail providers so far. 

bet365, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, and ESPN BET have certainly been popular draws in the Blue Grass State.

Tax revenues impressive

Thanks to heavy legal sports betting activity in Kentucky, state, and local tax coffers have benefitted to the tune of $8 million since launch of retail and mobile sports betting.

State regulators have mandated a $500,000 licensing fee for Kentucky betting sites hoping to make their presence felt in the state. Gross revenues for the platform are taxed at 9.75%, while online sportsbooks are taxed at 14.25%.

Tax revenue, as emphasized by Gov. Beshear, is earmarked for home-grown programs that benefit his citizens. Tax revenue will now stay in the state. "Remember, before we legalized sports betting, this money was going to other states or the betting was done illegally,” he said.

While "unofficial" numbers were communicated by the Governor Friday, official revenue reports for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) will start being released this week. 

More to come

There are still a host of legal sports betting licenses that are up for grabs in the Blue Grass State. Early returns suggest that Kentucky is an attractive market for yet-to-be-licensed providers who wish to pursue the state's sports betting market.

Las Vegas-based Circa Sports looks to be next in line with an online sports betting platform in Kentucky as well as a retail location sometime in the second quarter of the company's fiscal 2024. No timetable has been given for a Circa Sports Kentucky launch.

Circa already has a presence in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, and Nevada.