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Here’s What To Expect When Kentucky Legal Online Sports Betting Begins Thursday

Written By Derek Helling | Updated:
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The seventh scene of the second act of Shakespeare’s work, “As You Like It,” now bears some relevance to legal sports betting in Kentucky. The famous soliloquy uttered by Jaques in the drama that begins, “all the world’s a stage,” is almost appropriate with the onset of online wagering in the state. All of Kentucky will soon be a sportsbook for eligible bettors.

As Jaques alludes to in his monologue, it’s unwise to creep like a snail unwillingly to school in terms of gathering knowledge about how to take advantage of this latest expansion of legal gambling in Kentucky. Read on to learn everything you need to know about making your entrance into Kentucky online sports betting.

Online sportsbooks start taking bets in Kentucky Sept. 28

While land-based sportsbooks in Kentucky have been accepting wagers for weeks now, 6 a.m. local time on Thursday is the earliest that online sportsbooks can legally accept bets in the state. In anticipation of the Sept. 28 go-ahead from regulators, five of the licensed online sportsbooks have been accepting account registrations already.

Those are:

  • Bet365
  • BetMGM
  • Caesars
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel

Last week, Gov. Andy Beshear shared that more than 60,000 Kentuckians have taken advantage of those early signup opportunities. The aforementioned quintet of apps is not the sum total of options that should be available in Kentucky soon, though.

Three other licensees will slip in seeking the bubble reputation as well.

Kentuckians will have eight apps to choose from

At some point, Kentucky’s full gambit of online sportsbooks will sigh like a furnace. It’s just currently unclear exactly when.

To date, the other three licensees have not yet confirmed when they will launch in Kentucky. They are Circa Sports, ESPN Bet, and Fanatics. When they do, that will complete the landscape for legal online sports betting in the state.

For those in Kentucky who might have missed the early registration windows with any of the five active apps, there is no reason to roar jealous in honor. All five will happily accept your account registration after 6 a.m. on Sept. 28 as well.

Doing so is quite quick and simple. In addition, it’s free.

Signing up for an account with a Kentucky sports betting app

The registration process for all five active apps is essentially identical. However, you’ll have to go through it for each of the apps you decide to register for. They are separate entities and do not share customer information with each other.

To get started, simply search for the sports betting app(s) of your choice on your Android or iOS device. Let your device do its thing with the download and installation. If you’ve already wagered with a certain sportsbook in another state, you can simply log in with your existing credentials once you open the app.

If you’re new to that particular sportsbook, just follow the prompts for signing up a new account. To verify your eligibility and identity, the sportsbook will need your:

  • Email address (for correspondence and logging into the app)
  • Full legal name (for identity verification and tax purposes)
  • Mailing address (for tax purposes)
  • Social Security Number (for identity verification and tax purposes)

Licensed sportsbooks must verify your age and identity to remain in compliance with both federal and Kentucky law. It’s also necessary to prevent criminal activity like money laundering and proxy betting. By law, each person may only have one account with each sportsbook.

The issue of age for bettors has been somewhat of a controversial point in Kentucky. That’s an important item that Kentuckians should be aware of as they embark with online sports betting.

Kentucky’s rare age minimum and sportsbooks’ reactions

In most US jurisdictions with regulated sportsbooks, the minimum age to place wagers is 21. However, Kentucky is one of the minority that sets its minimum age at just 18. The state wanted to keep its standard consistent with horse race betting laws.

Thus, many land-based sportsbooks in Kentucky will accept bets from people between the ages of 18 and 20. At the same time, you may encounter some obstacles if you’re among those ages and attempt to sign up for an account with an online sportsbook.

This is one of those areas where just because the sportsbooks are allowed to doesn’t mean they have to. Many of the online licensees have stated that they will only accept bets from people who are at least 21 years of age regardless of Kentucky’s minimum.

This is likely because they have built their systems with a 21+ standard in most of the rest of the country. For them, building out an entirely separate framework for one market likely would not be worth the expense. Thus, it’s easier to stick with their existing framework even if it means giving up some potential action.

After you’ve completed all the registration prompts, it will be time for you to make your first real-money deposit into your account(s).

Making your first deposit into a Kentucky sports betting app

Again, these are separate entities, so you cannot share funds between your accounts with disparate sportsbooks. For each account you open with a different sportsbook, you will have to make a separate deposit in order to have funds available to wager within those apps.

This is where one of the first components of gambling responsibly comes in. To gamble responsibly, you should set an overall budget for your sports betting as a whole. Then, decide how you will split that amount up between the apps you decide to try, if you decide to try more than one.

Why you should consider signing up for more than one sports betting app

There are several advantages but one disadvantage of going with multiple versus a single sportsbook. The big disadvantage of choosing to sample multiple books is that your bankroll at each of them will be smaller than what you could have at a single book utilizing your entire budget.

At the same time, there are multiple advantages of trying out several apps. They apply both now and into the future. For starters, registering for and making an initial deposit on multiple books will allow you to take advantage of all the bonus offers that they have available for new customers.

Also, you can really get a feel for each app. Should you decide to stick with just one of them in the future, that decision will be based on your own experience, not a random selection or a review. However, you might want to keep your accounts active at multiple books going forward.

The advantage of doing so is that it allows you to comparison shop like you would for almost any other product. You can compare the various’ books odds and promotions for the bets you want to make, going with the strongest potential payout in your favor.

If you only have an account with one of the apps, you either have to accept the odds that book offers or pass on the bet you want to make altogether. As it’s free to sign up for an account with all the licensed Kentucky apps, it can be well worth your time to go through that process. You can always make a deposit if you like later.

After you have made your deposits, you’re ready to start betting. The options are numerous. For that reason, it’s important to keep in mind several other responsible gambling strategies.

What you can bet on using Kentucky mobile sportsbooks

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved an initial catalog of allowable events earlier in September. That regulatory body has since expanded the field as well. The newest additions to the list include:

  • Bellator
  • Formula One Racing
  • National Rugby League
  • PFL
  • Universal Tennis League

The initial list of events was robust, boasting essentially all sports that bettors in the United States prefer:

  • College basketball (men’s and women’s)
  • College football
  • Major League Baseball
  • NBA and WNBA
  • NFL
  • NHL
  • UFC

Furthermore, most domestic and international soccer fixtures are permissible. The same goes for golf and tennis competitions. Options within these sports include futures wagers and proposition bets. Such wagers will be available on both individual athletes and entire teams.

With all the options, it’s crucial to remember a few guidelines to ensure you are wagering responsibly.

Get started with online betting the right way

Gambling irresponsibly can not only be financially painful but can also lead to developing behavioral issues. That’s why it’s important to have a plan for your sports betting activity before you get started. That plan should include reliable responsible gambling strategies.

That begins with only using licensed online sportsbooks now that they are available in Kentucky. Such apps include customizable tools you can use to ensure you play responsibly like deposit and time limits you can set for yourself. Other tips for playing responsibly 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 the results of your wagers

Forming good habits in these ways will help you avoid making bad habits that can lead to trouble. That way, when you have spectacles on nose and pouch on side, you will have enjoyed your Kentucky sports betting. All of Kentucky is now a stage for your sports wagering.

Photo by AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
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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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