Expert: Kentucky Won’t Use All Available Online Sportsbook Licenses

Written By Matthew Bain on June 13, 2023 - Last Updated on June 29, 2023
Expert says not all Kentucky sportsbook licenses used, from

A leading sports gambling expert doesn’t expect Kentucky to come close to using all its available sportsbook licenses.

In a summary provided to PlayKentucky, the analysts at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming projected that not all 30 of the available online sports betting licenses will be used. (Three online licenses for the nine horse racetracks and Kentucky Speedway.)

“And we don’t expect all will be claimed,” EKG analysts wrote in the summary, “which should keep skin partnership economics reasonable / very reasonable.”

When EKG says skin partnership economics, it’s referring to the revenue deals struck between the future Kentucky online sportsbooks and the retail venues whose mobile license they’re using. Eilers & Krejcik is an independent gambling research and consulting firm, and it’s considered a leader in the industry.

Adam Krejcik, one of EKG’s partners, is on the board of Catena Media, which owns PlayKentucky.

The current license partnership landscape

In all, 40 licenses will be available in Kentucky — 10 retail and 30 online, with retail venues allowed to strike deals with up to three mobile operators. So far, Caesars has partnered with Keeneland and Red Mile, securing the first spot in Kentucky’s online sports betting landscape.

That leaves eight venues without partnerships. They are:

  • Churchill Downs
  • Ellis Park
  • Turfway Park
  • Kentucky Downs
  • Oak Grove
  • Revolutionary Racing
  • Cumberland Run
  • Kentucky Speedway

How many licenses will be claimed?

Even dating back to when Gov. Andy Beshear signed HB 551, few expected all 30 online licenses to be scooped up in Kentucky. Perhaps the better question was: Will there be even 10?

In a market like Massachusetts, for instance, which has 2.4 million more residents, only nine operators are live or expect to be live within the next six months (DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars, Barstool, Betr, Fanatics, Bally Bet and Betway). There are no indications that number will expand to 10 any time soon. Like Kentucky, Massachusetts has reasonable licensing fees and tax rates, so the barriers to market entry are similar in that regard.

Beyond Caesars Sportsbook KY, we can confidently expect BetMGM KY Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook KY and FanDuel Kentucky Sportsbook to join the state market. We also strongly believe Bet365 would be smart to launch a Bet365 Kentucky Sportsbook in the Bluegrass State. That’s five.

From there … we’ll see. We put together a list of the most likely sportsbooks to launch in Kentucky last week.

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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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