FLORENCE, Ky. — It is legal to place an online sports bet in Kentucky.

While betting went live at racetracks three weeks ago, Kentuckians can now do it in the convenience of their home, or anywhere, as long as they’re 18 years old or older. 

What You Need To Know

  • Online sports betting is now legal in Kentucky

  • More than 60,000 Kentuckians pre-registered accounts ahead of Thursday

  • Kentucky officials estimated the state will collect $23 million in tax revenue

  • One expert estimated 90% of the handle in Kentucky will come from online betting compared to in-person betting

Approved operators include Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky, DraftKings, Fanatics Sportsbook and FanDuel. Circa Sports, which is also approved, will start taking bets at a later date.

Over 60,000 Kentuckians pre-registered accounts ahead of Thursday, according to BetKentucky.com. The website estimated more than $2.1 billion will be wagered during the first full year of sports betting in the state.

“Some of that gaming money will finally come back to Kentucky, rather than going to Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, Illinois, you name it. Pretty much every state around us had sports betting, except for Missouri. Now that money will stay here,” said Steve Bittenbender, writer and analyst for BetKentucky.com.

Bittenbender said sports books average somewhere between an 8 to 12% win rate. Kentucky will receive 9.75% of revenue generated from in-track sports books, and 14.25% from online sports books. Kentucky officials estimated the state will collect $23 million in tax revenue. That money will help shore up the state’s public pension deficit and go toward the state’s problem gaming fund.

For states that have both online and retail sports betting, the vast majority of the handle typically comes from online betting, Bittenbender said. In Indiana, it’s close to 85% and for Ohio, it’s greater than 95%, he said.

Bittenbender estimated 90% of the handle in Kentucky will come from online betting compared to in-person betting. He said the state should have an idea early next week about the amount of money wagered this opening weekend.

“It’s way more convenient. And if you think about it, now with the way that technology is, you can have a sports book experience, and you don’t have to travel to a casino or a racetrack to experience it,” Bittenbender said. “They’re going to be more inclined to bet online. And they’re not going to, necessarily, I don’t think, have the incentive to go to the track to place a sports bet.”

Aaron Utterback said that’s definitely the case for him.

“Yeah, just convenience,” he said. “For good and bad.”

Hopefully, not too bad. In those instances, it’s not uncommon for people to develop gambling problems.

“Not with me, no, but somebody will, obviously,” Utterback said.

In those cases, sports books are distributing problem gaming education and setting limits on bets. Bittenbender said more can always be done in that regard.

Bittenbender said his advice for people excited to try sports betting is simple.

“Set a limit. Ok, I’m gonna bet $10. Money management is a big part of this,” he said. “Start small. Start with a sport you know, as well.” He also added that new bettors should practice patience.

As for his first bet, Utterback had his eyes on the Thursday Night Football matchup.

“Probably the Packers-Lions. They got a bunch of promos going on for that,” he said. “If any of them score, it’s like a guaranteed voucher.”

Utterback said he wasn’t looking into sports betting until his friends asked him to join in.

“Yeah, refer-a-friend bonuses and everything. I just signed up. It kind of just happened. I’m excited for it to be in Kentucky,” Utterback said.