Mobile sports betting launches in KY

Published 9:42 am Thursday, September 28, 2023

Three weeks after in-person sports betting launched in Kentucky, mobile betting has premiered.

On Thursday at 6 a.m., online sports books officially opened in the Commonwealth.

As of Sept. 21, over 60,000 Kentuckians had pre-registered with one of the licensed mobile applications, Gov. Andy Beshear said at his weekly press conference.

He added that at the time, there had been over $4.5 million wagered on sports since its in-person launch earlier this month.

“That is a strong number, but we believe it’ll grow significantly once online begins,” Beshear said.

Kentucky currently has eight licensed mobile applications, including:

  • Bet365;
  • BetMGM;
  • Caesers;
  • Circa Sports Kentucky;
  • DraftKings;
  • Fanatics;
  • FanDuel; and
  • Penn Sports Interactive.

The greater convenience of being able to place bets whenever, wherever, will lead to exponential market growth, said Todd Schrupp, FanDuel TV on-air talent.

“Just like when you go shopping now most people don’t go to the brick-and-mortar experience, they like to wager online,” he said. “We’ve learned that in horse racing.”

According to a BetKentucky survey, 42% of Kentuckians say they are likely or very likely to bet on sports once legalized.

Schrupp expects FanDuel and the other account operators to be flooded with signups on launch day. He sees it as an opportunity to boost an important sector of Kentucky’s economy — agriculture — through one of its biggest industries, thoroughbred racing.

“We believe especially on the horse racing side, if you could just convert 5% of the account holders — those who sign up to bet other sports — if they all of a sudden start betting horse racing, that is going to be a boon to an industry that absolutely needs it,” he said.

Schrupp added that horse racing’s future is uncertain, with the industry struggling to get younger people interested.

“What you’re about to see in Kentucky is a microcosm for how thoroughbred racing can move forward and be successful,” he said.

Kentucky’s legislative research commission estimated that in its first full year, legal sports wagering will bring in $23 million revenue. The money will go to oversight of wagering, a problem gaming fund and the pension system.

Schrupp said that almost every state with revenue projections for sports wagering exceeded them.

For example, Ohio launched legal sports betting in January, and by mid-year, Ohioans had wagered over $4.1 billion on sports.

This is compared to the $5 billion wagered on one sport, thoroughbred racing, during the same timeframe throughout the entire county, Schrupp said.

“So here you have one state right across from Kentucky that has handled nearly all of what the entire thoroughbred racing industry has handled over the same period,” he said. “It really speaks to how this market is growing rapidly.”

Many Kentucky representatives were concerned about legal sports wagering, mostly worried about safety for minors and those who may become addicted to gambling.

Many service providers include features to assuage some of these concerns.

For example, several applications, including FanDuel and DraftKings, allow users to set deposit, wagering and time limits on their online activity.

FanDuel also only allows people 21 and older to bet, even though the legal age is now 18, Schrupp said.

“We believe 21 is the right move and it fits with our mission statement, which is responsible gaming is at the core of everything we do,” he said.