Why BetMGM And FanDuel Will Likely Follow Caesars’ 21+ Lead In Kentucky

Posted on May 24, 2023 - Last Updated on May 26, 2023

So far, there’s only one sports betting operator guaranteed to launch in the Kentucky market later this year.

The Kentucky sports betting legislation passed at the end of March allowed 18-year-olds to bet. Despite that, Caesars Sportsbook’s Kentucky operation won’t let anyone under 21 wager.

And there’s good reason to believe other major operations will follow suit.

Last week, Caesars announced a partnership with Keeneland and Red Mile racetracks. The deal will allow Caesars to operate retail Kentucky sportsbooks at the two tracks and an online sportsbook throughout the state. But the book and app won’t accept wagers from everyone they legally can.

The move was part of a company policy that saw Caesars decide to go with a nationwide 21-plus policy, regardless of local laws.

Based on their actions in other markets, at least two other major operators will likely make the same decision.

BetMGM and FanDuel most likely to follow in Caesars’ footsteps

Aside from Kentucky, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Wyoming and Washington, DC are the only other jurisdictions with 18 as the minimum age requirement for sports betting.

Representatives from BetMGM and FanDuel both confirmed with PlayKentucky that they only accept wagers bettors at least 21 in every US jurisdiction they operate in. That includes those that allow 18-year-olds to wager.

FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbooks have most of the US sports betting market share. We’ve already reported that Caesars will be 21-plus in Kentucky.

FanDuel and BetMGM wouldn’t comment on Kentucky specifically.

But their actions in other states indicate they’re most likely to make the same decision.

There’s no compelling reason to think either FanDuel Kentucky or BetMGM Kentucky would be the operators’ only platforms that allow under-21 betting.

Will 18-year-olds have a place to wager?

In New Hampshire, DraftKings accepts bets from bettors under 21. Therefore, of the four, DraftKings Kentucky is most likely to service the 18-21-year-olds. But like BetMGM and FanDuel, DraftKings has not made a formal statement on the matter.

On the other hand, smaller operations could come into the state and serve the younger customers. Should it choose to launch in the Bluegrass State, Bet365 Kentucky could be a prime example of that. Bet365 has dominated the United Kingdom betting scene for years — and the legal age limit is 18 across the pond.

The bill allows the state’s nine horse tracks and the Kentucky Speedway to operate brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Those venues can partner with up to three online sports betting operators.

That means there could be up to 30 online sportsbooks in Kentucky.

Based on other markets, it’s improbable Kentucky regulators award that many licenses. But if most major operations stick with a 21-year-old minimum age requirement, it opens up opportunities for smaller companies to gain market share with under-21 bettors.

Barstool Sportsbook, for example, could be one of the companies to enter and take bets from 18-year-olds. The Barstool brand has a cultural appeal to a younger audience. Its sportsbook could be one of the operations to enter the market and serve younger bettors.

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Steve Schult

The Managing Editor of PlayKentucky, Steve Schult is a veteran of the gambling industry with more than a decade of experience covering the space. After earning his journalism degree from Marist College, the New York native began covering high-stakes poker tournaments and the U.S. gambling industry for various outlets. Following stints as a writer for Card Player Media, Bluff Magazine and the World Series of Poker, Schult joined Catena Media and has managed coverage for a handful of states.

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