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Governor Says Kentuckians Have Bet Almost $250 Million On Sports So Far

Written By Derek Helling on October 24, 2023
andy beshear responds to question

Polls suggest Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is on a path to reelection and his administration has continued to beat the drum of legal sports betting toward that effort. Beshear’s office gave Kentuckians another update on regulated sports betting activity Monday.

The update was limited as Kentucky residents await the first monthly activity report from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC). At the same time, the information Beshear shared offers some insight into Kentucky’s online gambling landscape.

Beshear says Kentucky bets are nearing $250 million

Physical sportsbooks in Kentucky started accepting bets on Sept. 7. Online Kentucky sportsbooks did the same on Sept. 28. With October waning, the KHRC has yet to provide an official accounting of regulated sports betting.

Amid that wait, Beshear pulled back the curtain somewhat. An Oct. 23 release from his office says that bets in the state are approaching $250 million since those launches. As is usually the case, online bets accounted for most of that sum.

Beshear’s release does not feature a lot of other important information. There is no data about how much of that money the sportsbooks have won, for instance. Kentuckians should look to the KHRC’s monthly updates for that information.

A sportsbook’s win is the more important number compared to how much bettors have gambled. That’s because Kentucky taxes sportsbook revenue, not the dollars that sportsbooks take in. If bettors in Kentucky have been successful to date, that would translate to a smaller share for the state.

Beshear’s office did disclose one other interesting nugget, though.

Online betting launch spikes account registration numbers

According to the release, online sportsbooks in Kentucky report that they have received half a million account registrations since their launch. Previously, Beshear said 60,000 people took advantage of an early registration window.

Kentucky has likely generated around 600,000 online sportsbook accounts to date. It’s important to note that does not necessarily mean 600,000 people. Many of the people behind these accounts could have registered with multiple sportsbooks.

Thus, it’s difficult to definitively assess how popular sports betting in Kentucky has been so far using that data alone. Still, there is both bad and good news for Kentucky’s online gambling industry in this data.

The good news is that the number of those accounts has multiplied by nearly 10 times since Beshear’s last update. That growth has taken place in just over a month, too. However, the other side of that coin is just as legitimate.

Some people in Kentucky may be on the fence about betting on sports online and take part late. At the same time, the initial launch window is over. Kentucky’s sportsbooks will never be able to replicate that opportunity.

Several accounts representing about 17.1% of Kentucky’s eligible population (at most) are respectable but not awe-inspiring. Once again, though, the important number for the state is the tax haul.

The verdict is still forthcoming, as is Kentuckians’ support for Beshear on Election Day.

Photo by Timothy D. Easley / AP Photo
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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