Quick Takes

Churchill Downs among first tracks seeking Kentucky gambling licenses 

By: - August 10, 2023 2:08 pm

One of the iconic spires frames fleet Thoroughbreds at Churchill Downs. (Photo by Tom Eblen)

Seven Kentucky race tracks have filed to seek sports gambling licenses, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday, and more are expected.  

Kentuckians can place legal sports bets starting Sept. 7 at racetracks and virtually on Sept. 28 under emergency regulations. 

The seven race tracks that have applied are: 

  • Churchill Downs in Louisville
  • Cumberland Run in Corbin
  • Ellis Park Racing & Gaming in Henderson
  • Oak Grove Racing and Gaming in Oak Grove 
  • Red Mile in Lexington 
  • Sandy’s Gaming & Racing in Ashland
  • Turfway Park Racing and Gaming in Florence 

Those who submitted mobile gambling applications are: 

  • Bet365
  • BetMGM
  • Caesars
  • Circa 
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • Penn Interactive 

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission staff will vote on the applications on Aug. 22, Beshear said. The commission is responsible for oversight and enforcement of sports betting.

The state legislature paved the way this year for Kentucky to become the 37th state to legalize sports betting, the Lantern previously reported. The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way in 2018 by striking down a federal ban that had excluded most states from legalizing such gambling.

Only Kentucky’s nine racetracks are eligible to apply for licenses to operate retail sports betting sites. They can offer sports betting at all of their locations and may also partner with up to three marketing platforms for mobile wagering.

Kentucky sports bettors must be at least 18 years old. 


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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.