Kentucky’s Opening Online Sports Betting Revenues Revealed by Governor Beshear

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In a remarkable kickoff, Kentucky’s sports bettors placed more than $68 million in handle during the opening weekend of online betting from Thursday September 28 to Sunday October 1.

This week, Governor Andy Beshear shared the stats on social media.

“$68 million. That’s the amount wagered from Thursday to Sunday from in-person and mobile sports betting in Kentucky,” Beshear wrote. “The best news is those dollars are staying right here to help build a brighter future for all our families.”

Beshear is a keen supporter of sports betting in his state, and earlier in September, became the first Kentuckian to place a regulated bet when the market opened for Kentucky retail sportsbooks.

Geolocation Picture

Last week, seven mobile betting options went live across the state, including BetMGM, Bet365, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fanatics.

Notably for Fanatics, Kentucky marks the first state where it is launching at the same time as other operators. It recently debuted late to the market in seven states, having earlier this year purchased the U.S. assets of operator PointsBet and its associated licenses.  

In Kentucky’s opening weekend, data from geo restriction service provider GeoComply showed 10 million interactions processed from more than 325,000 online sportsbook accounts.

On Thursday alone, the company monitored more than 2 million transactions from 200,000 accounts.

Beshear did not reveal any other details, such as sportsbooks revenues, hold percentages, or taxes paid. He also didn’t say what the split was between retail and online betting.

Earlier in September, retail sportsbooks took $10 million in bets in their first week of operation, done without online competition. If they kept that up during the launch week of online betting, they would have done very well. In some states, mobile betting dominates by retail by 95% or more.

Comparisons and Projections

Comparing the launch to Louisiana, which has a population similar to Kentucky’s 4.5 million, the Bayou State registered 3.4 million geolocation pings in the initial 36 hours of mobile sports betting in 2022.

In February 2022, the first full month of Louisiana online sports betting, operators accepted $238.4 million in bets, including the Super Bowl, but not a full NFL slate like Kentucky’s first-month totals will.

Once Kentucky’s market is fully matured, the governor’s office has projected around $25 million to $30 million in tax revenue a year. These funds are earmarked to bolster the state’s pensions, among other allocations.

The state tax on revenues is 9.75% for retail sportsbooks and 14.25% for online operators. However, income from sports betting taxes can fluctuate wildly. Occasionally, such as in June in Colorado, some upset sports results can really hit a sportsbook’s revenues hard.

Beshear, though, is confident that revenues and tax income will almost certainly be going up for now.

“We’ll watch these numbers grow. Best part is all of it stays in Kentucky, helping with our pension system and other needs. This is the first time that Kentuckians have been able to stay home, and our dollars haven’t gone to paving roads in Indiana or investing in other states around us,” Beshear said in his weekly press briefing.

Some projections expect as much as $2.9 billion in sports betting activity annually in Kentucky. This could potentially generate $30 million in annual taxes.

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