The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season is a Thursday Night Football contest between the Detroit Lions and the Super Bowl LVII Champion Kansas City Chiefs. This game goes down on the evening of September 7, 2023.
Also debuting on September 7th – legal sports betting in Kentucky at local sportsbooks. Beginning that day, patrons aged 18 and older can enter one of the state’s licensed sports betting locations that are housed inside racetrack casinos (aka racinos) and place a wager on pro or college games and matches.
The alignment with the beginning of NFL betting is not a coincidence. The business of gambling on professional football in the United States dominates the action at sportsbooks of all types.
It is the number one betting sport in the US, and lawmakers in KY are intent on capturing all of those profits without missing a single week of regular season action in 2023. Annual revenue estimates for tax dollar collections related to sports betting are expected to be around $23 million.
The only downer is that mobile and online sports betting in Kentucky will have to wait until September 28th. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), the governing authority of sports betting in KY, is hopeful that any issues that arise following the debut of domestic sportsbooks can be taken care of before online and mobile gambling begins.
Gambling on local college sports is permissible by KY law, but books will not open until the weekend after the season openers for the University of Kentucky and Louisville. There are no limits on the types of NFL bets that will be allowed locally.
Outside vendors will pay the KHRC $500,000 to apply for a domestic sportsbook license. Annual renewal fees are set at $50,000. All of the state’s fourteen racebooks are expected to apply for licenses, and Governor Beshear seems optimistic that each one will receive approval by the start date.
“We expect most tracks, if not all tracks running today, to be operational on [September 7th]”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear
These local sportsbooks will not be operated by the racetracks. They’ll partner with domestic books like FanDuel and BetMGM to provide sports betting services for both retail and online wagering services.
These new Kentucky sports betting laws do nothing to prevent the use of offshore sportsbook sites within the state. Area gamblers can continue to access these overseas sports betting venues and wager on pro and college games at will without violating any local regulations.
The sports betting sites included in our list of top-ranked sportsbook reviews operate offshore and possess the appropriate licensing to do business in KY over the web and exist within regulated international gambling districts.