Kentucky commission approves licenses for September launch of sports wagering

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky awarded licenses Tuesday for horse tracks to operate sports betting facilities and for companies to accept online bets, paving the way for legal wagering on sporting events to start in September.

The action by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission means bettors now know where they can place in-person sports wagers starting Sept. 7 and which mobile applications can take wagers beginning Sept. 28.

The Bluegrass State has been on an accelerated push to launch legal sports wagering since Kentucky lawmakers passed a sports betting measure at the end of their session in late March.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear praised the horse racing commission on Tuesday for “getting this done right and getting it done in time for the opening of the NFL season.”

The following Kentucky racetracks and their satellite facilities were approved to open a retail sportsbook: Churchill Downs, Louisville; Derby City Gaming, Louisville; Ellis Park, Henderson; the Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland Run, Corbin; the Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland, Williamsburg; Newport Racing and Gaming, Newport; Oak Grove Gaming and Racing, Oak Grove; The Red Mile, Lexington; and Turfway Park, Florence.

The following were approved, with facilities coming soon: Derby City Gaming, coming soon to downtown Louisville; Ellis Park, coming soon to Owensboro; and Sandy’s Gaming and Racing, coming soon to Ashland.

The commission approved temporary licenses and is able to later convert those to annual licenses.

It approved temporary licenses for service providers to operate a mobile sports wagering application. They are: Bet365; BetMGM; Caesars; Circa Sports; DraftKings; Fanatics; FanDuel; and Penn Sports Interactive. Kambi was approved as a service provider for retail operations and will not have a mobile application, the state said.

While online wagering does not begin until Sept. 28, Kentuckians can pre-register an account with approved mobile applications starting Aug. 28.

Once fully implemented, sports wagering is expected to generate an additional $23 million per year in state revenue. The funds will go to Kentucky’s permanent pension fund, other than revenue needed for oversight of sports wagering and to support a problem gambling assistance account.

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