All Signs Point To BetRivers Sportsbook Not Launching In Kentucky

Written By Matthew Bain on August 3, 2023
BetRivers likely not launching in Kentucky

Based on what executives said during Rush Street Interactive’s quarter two earnings call Wednesday evening, it sure sounds like BetRivers is not going to launch its sports betting app in Kentucky.

RSI, the parent company of BetRivers, has steered away from launching in states where online casinos either aren’t legal or close to becoming legal. That’s a major reason it chose not to launch in Massachusetts. And, since online casinos are nowhere near coming to fruition in Kentucky, it’s likely BetRivers chooses not to launch in the Bay State either.

BetRivers modeling Kentucky decision after its Massachusetts decision

In fact, RSI CEO Richard Schwartz was asked directly about future opportunities, including Kentucky sports betting.

“When it comes to a new market, every state or jurisdiction looks at it on a case-by-case basis, looking at the tax rates, looking at adjacent markets,” Schwartz told investors. “We’re looking at expected competitive intensity, opportunity for (online casinos) to be legalized in the near term versus long term in those markets.

“And so when we look at all the modeling and the subjective analysis of the various opportunities in the market, we make a decision whether to enter and pursue that market or not. And so that’s what we’ve done in Massachusetts, and we’ll be doing the same thing in Kentucky.”

For what it’s worth, a BetRivers spokesperson has twice told PlayKentucky this July there the company has no news to share regarding Kentucky plans.


College basketball presence, cheap license fee keep the door open

There are two reasons we can’t unequivocally say BetRivers Kentucky won’t be one of the available sportsbook apps on Sept. 28.

One: BetRivers has tied itself at the waste to college basketball with its exclusive partnership with the Field of 68 network. And, obviously, with Kentucky and Louisville, Kentucky may just be the most college basketball-obsessed state in the US. Perhaps there could be opportunities to leverage BetRivers’ standing in that realm of the college sports world.

Two: The online operator license fee is a meager $50,000 in Kentucky, compared to $5 million in Massachusetts.

RSI reported its online sports betting product had a net loss of $1 million in Q2. So that $4.5 million difference in license fees is more significant than you may think.

Overall, however, BetRivers revenue was $161.5 million in Q2 2023, an increase of 15% compared to last year. So, clearly, RSI’s more concentrated focus on online casinos — and states with current or imminent online casinos legality — is working.

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Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain started as a Content Manager for PlayKentucky and other Catena Media sites in 2022. He covered the launch of Massachusetts sports betting and the Prop 26 vs. Prop 27 battle in California. Before that, he spent six years as a sports reporter and then deputy sports editor for the Des Moines Register, during which time he won nine statewide journalism awards, including the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists Award. As deputy sports editor, Matthew oversaw the Register's recruiting coverage while also innovating the outlet's high school sports coverage. Matthew graduated from San Diego State and grew up in California, but he's somehow a Boston Celtics fan. Long story.

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