FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56) — The final hurdle before Kentuckians can legally bet on their favorite team has now been cleared. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved licenses for racetracks today and the companies that will take the bets.
“Oh, it’s an exciting day. It has been a long time coming,” John Rabinowitz, chairman of the Horse Racing Commission, told reporters following the meeting.
The licensing was a procedural but paramount step towards legal sports betting in Kentucky. The Commission took two votes, one for the tracks, or “operators,” and the other for the sportsbooks, or providers,” they’re partnered with.
Seven of the nine eligible tracks in Kentucky applied for and received licenses. Keeneland and Kentucky Downs are not jumping in. However, Keeneland officials told FOX 56 they are partnering with Red Mile to promote that track’s Caesar’s partnership that was just approved by the Commission.
Caesar’s is not the only familiar name coming to Commonwealth, but FanDuel, Draft Kings, Barstool Sports/Penn Sports Interactive, Bet MGM, and more will all have a presence at various tracks or on cell phones. That list could grow; these licenses are only considered temporary for the 2023 calendar year. Applications for next year’s licenses are already due by September 1. It comes as leaders have pushed to bring betting to Kentucky well ahead of an end-of-year legal mandate.
“The governor—I was in his office, and he told me, we are going to roll this out by NFL kickoff. And so, you know, deadlines spur action. And so, we are well on course to hit that date, and I see no hurdles,” Rabinowitz said.
The next dates to watch for are Aug. 28, when people can pre-register their accounts for mobile betting that launches a month later on Sept. 28. In-person retail betting will open for business on Sept. 7.
A full list of approved sports betting operators, providers, and whether the partnership is mobile or in-person can be found here.