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Kentucky took an important step towards launching its regulated sports betting market on Tuesday. The Bluegrass State confirmed they will have seven retail sportsbooks and eight online operators. Those include bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, Circa, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, and Penn Sports Interactive (Barstool/ESPN Bet). The online sports betting operators will be able to go live starting on September 28, less than a month after the NFL season kicks off.
Fanatics was late to apply for a license, but the state granted them a temporary one to allow them to go live on September 28. There have been questions about Fanatics, given its short history, and many thought their late application would have ruled them out. However, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) decided Fanatics’ experience in other markets made them worthy of a temporary license while their review of the operator continues.
“Let me just remind these are temporary licenses with ongoing review, so if something comes up… we don’t think it will, Fanatics is in other jurisdictions… then it will present itself there,” KHRC Chairman Jon Rabinowitz said when asked about Fantatics inclusion with the other seven online sportsbooks.
Bet365, a leader in European online sports betting, was among the operators awarded a license in Kentucky. They have been working hard to make their presence felt in the US, but they have yet to do so. Like many other sportsbooks, bet365 has not captured enough market share from the top four operators (DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars). They will also be facing more competition from Fanatics and the upcoming ESPN Bet, both of which have more prominent brands in the US.
If bet365 can find a way to hold its own in Kentucky, it could fuel further expansion into US markets. If they fail, bet365 could join a growing list of international sportsbooks to sell their US business.
Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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