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Here’s What To Expect When Legal Sports Betting Begins In Kentucky On Sept. 7

Eligible people can start placing in-person sports bets in Kentucky at licensed sportsbooks on Thursday and here’s everything you should know

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Derek Helling Avatar
5 mins read

On Thursday, in somewhat of an unintentional tribute to Huey Lewis and the News’ 1986 hit “Hip to Be Square,” sports bettors in Kentucky can start playing it real straight. Whether you also cut your hair in celebration of the start of legal sports betting in Kentucky is up to you but there’s no point in fighting it. It’s an idea whose time has come.

Licensed physical sportsbooks around Kentucky will begin to accept in-person wagers on a variety of sporting events Thursday. Read on to find out where you will be able to put your bets down and what else you need to know in order to do so.

Land-based sportsbooks open in Kentucky on Sept. 7

The first thing that Kentuckians should note is that Thursday is Day 1 for in-person sports wagering in their state only. In order to participate, Kentucky residents of age will have to physically visit one of the state’s licensed establishments.

Legal online wagering won’t begin until Sept. 28 at the earliest, although five of the licensed online operators are currently accepting account registrations in their apps. Those apps are:

  • Bet365
  • BetMGM
  • Caesars
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel

There is one piece of news relevant to online wagering, however. As of 6 a.m. local time on Sept. 7, people who have already registered or complete their in-app account signups from that time forward will be able to deposit funds into those accounts.

Before you get seen on the freeway heading to your nearest licensed sportsbook, it’s important to note some important information. Without this info, it might look like you aren’t having a lot of fun.

What to know before you go to a Kentucky sportsbook

Amid the most important data are the locations of the licensed books. They are:

  • Churchill Downs – 700 Central Ave, Louisville
  • Derby City Gaming – 4520 Poplar Level Rd, Louisville
  • Ellis Park – 3300 US Hwy 41 N, Henderson
  • The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland – 244 Penny Ln, Williamsburg
  • The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland Run – 777 Winners Ln, Corbin
  • Newport Racing & Gaming – 1723 Monmouth St, Newport
  • Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel – 777 Winners Way, Oak Grove
  • The Red Mile – 1200 Red Mile Rd, Lexington
  • Turfway Park Racing & Gaming – 7500 Turfway Rd, Florence

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has set 10 a.m. local time as the hour at which the books can accept their first wagers on Thursday. Expect the books to have special opening festivities. For example, Gov. Andy Beshear will place the first bet at Churchill Downs on Thursday.

In order to be eligible to wager at these books, you must fit certain criteria.

To begin with, Kentucky law requires that you be at least 18 years of age to bet on sporting events. Some of these licensees take that age requirement a step further, though, only accepting bets from people 21 years of age or older.

Furthermore, you can’t wager on sports in Kentucky legally if you are on the state’s gaming self-exclusion list. In fact, if you’re on that list, you’re really not supposed to even be on the premises of a licensed sportsbook in the state.

In order to avoid any issues placing your bet, be sure to bring your government-issued photo identification card with you. Furthermore, ensure it is not expired. The books may not accept an expired ID as valid proof of your identity.

While you may bring cash to place your bets, you don’t have to. Kentucky sportsbooks are allowed to accept deposits via debit cards. They may have house rules as to how much of a deposit you can make. The best way to find out about those is simply to ask any member of the book’s staff.

If you’re of age and not participating in a self-exclusion program, then you might also be wondering what will be available for you to wager on. Kentucky is no renegade in terms of allowing a variety of bets.

What you can wager on at Kentucky sportsbooks

The KHRC approved the state’s first catalog of allowable events for wagering earlier this week. That catalog includes most of the highlights, such as futures and events in:

  • the ATP Tour
  • college basketball (both men’s and women’s)
  • college American football
  • MLB
  • the NBA
  • the NFL
  • the NHL
  • the PGA
  • the UFC
  • the WNBA
  • the WTA Tour

Books are also allowed to take action on a wide variety of domestic and international soccer competitions. That should include most events that local clubs Louisville City FC and Racing Louisville FC participate in.

At the same time, bettors should note that individual books still have their own discretion on what to offer within the parameters of the catalog. Just because they are allowed to take bets on an event doesn’t mean they have to do so.

Again, the best way to know whether a wager you want to make is available is to ask a staff member. In addition to getting all the information you need, the best way to avoid taking punishment as you bet is to play responsibly.

Tips for wagering responsibly on Sept. 7 and beyond

Irresponsible gambling is a widespread concern and rightfully so. People who gamble irresponsibly can do significant damage to their own lives and the communities they are a part of. Kentuckians can take the first step toward playing responsibly with sports betting by only using licensed books starting Thursday.

That provision was part of what Beshear and other leaders in the state envisioned when they created a regulated system for sports wagering. There’s more to betting on sports responsibly than using a legal book, though.

Other strategies to ensure responsible play include:

  • Being honest and open about your sports betting activity
  • Expecting to lose
  • Never considering wagering on sports a way to make money
  • Setting limits; both for the amount of money and time you will spend, then sticking to them
  • Taking a break if you start to make poor decisions like chasing losses or find yourself experiencing strong emotional reactions to results of your wagers

Following these strategies will help guard against sports wagering turning into a negative experience for you. Gambling responsibly proves the eternal truth of Huey Lewis and the News’ words. It is indeed hip to be square.

Derek Helling Avatar
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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

View all posts by 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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