Kentucky Sports Betting Market Adds Another Retail Sportsbook

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 13, 2024 08:00 PM
Kentucky Sports Betting Market Adds Another Retail Sportsbook

The Kentucky sports betting market continues to expand. 

This is par for the course inside the Bluegrass State. Since sports betting in Kentucky launched in September 2023, the offerings have undergone plenty of expansion. Not only have they broadened their market of wager types and events, but they added new bookmakers, including some of the top online sportsbooks in the United States.

This time around, Kentucky is adding Circa sportsbook to the fold. They will launch a Kentucky sports betting mobile site, but they also have plans to unveil a retail sportsbook. Adding that location would give the state a total of eight retail betting sites.

The move represents an expansion for Circa sportsbook as well as the Bluegrass State. Circa, originally based in Las Vegas, is attempting to increase its footprint throughout the rest of the country.

Of course, entering new United States sports betting markets can be tough—even ones as new as the Kentucky sports betting scene. Circa is still coming to the Bluegrass State months after their sports betting launch. A concrete market share among Kentucky sportsbooks is already taking shape. Whether they will be able to entrench themselves as a popular destination will be a matter of course. And knowing this, the company apparently has plans to do things a little differently.

Circa Plans to Launch Kentucky Sports Betting App Before Opening Retail Location

Speaking with Yogonet, Circa CEO Derek Stevens outlined the company’s unique plan for their Kentucky sports betting launch:

“There's no launch date set yet, but what I can tell you is that we are going to do Kentucky a little bit differently than what we've done in other jurisdictions. We will open our Circa Sports Kentucky mobile app first, and then we are going to build a retail sportsbook a bit further down the road. That's going to happen towards the end of 2024. The retail book will be located right on the Kentucky-Tennessee border. We're very excited about the growth potential. There's going to be a tremendous amount of wagering action coming out of Kentucky because it's such a hotbed of sports for baseball, for basketball, for football. Kentucky's going to be a great state for wagering.”

Launching the Kentucky sports betting site makes a ton of sense from business and logistical perspectives. Opening a mobile sportsbook in the USA is a mere matter of technology and regulatory red tape. Physical sportsbooks require construction and different types of license. 

Beyond that, though, online sports betting in the USA continues to take off. The overwhelming majority of legal sports bets placed in the United States are processed through a mobile odds provider. For some regions, in fact, the share of sports bets coming online is well north of 95 percent

Granted, those numbers are typically reserved for more rural areas. But that’s not always the case. The most recent Ohio sports betting revenue report showed that more than 98 percent of the money wagered on sports went through an online site. And the Buckeye State, remember, is a top 10 sports betting market in the USA

Expectations for Circa Sportsbook in Kentucky High

With this in mind, it makes all the sense in the world for Circa online sportsbook in Kentucky to launch before the retail location. And as such, Mr. Stevens said his company has extremely high expectations for their place in the market:

“It's very early, but we have very high expectations for Kentucky. People who visit Kentucky, who live in Kentucky, and who grew up in Kentucky—they've got sports wagering in their blood. It's the home of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Thoroughbred racing is inherent within the entire state. College basketball between the University of Kentucky and Louisville and Western Kentucky has been tremendous.”

There’s no denying the Kentucky sports betting market has plenty of interested customers. Whether Circa can turn those existing customers into their own clients is a different story. Competing with other popular online sportsbooks in Kentucky will be a challenge. 

Circa seems to understand this. They are already offering pretty lucrative Kentucky sports betting bonuses for new customers. They also appear to be hedging their bets with the location of their physical sportsbook.

Building a sportsbook on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee is borderline genius. While online sports betting in Tennessee is legal, they have so far opted out of physical sportsbooks. By positioning themselves within driving distance of the Volunteer State, Circa retail sportsbook in Kentucky should be able to pick up some additional business from Tennesseeans who want to patronize a physical sportsbook. Yes, that runs counter to the online trends. But retail sportsbooks  provide entertainment experiences in the form of TVs and, oftentimes, restaurants and bars. Circa sportsbook in Kentucky will presumably follow this model.

Timing Could be Right for Kentucky Sports Betting to Add Another Sportsbook

The news of Circa sportsbook’s launch in Kentucky comes just as the Keenland race track announced there will be no sports betting kiosks on-site during the spring racing season.

Indeed, the track may have kiosks ready to roll by the time Circa’s retail location launches later this year. But if they don’t, Kentucky residents will have another on-site option from which to choose.

And in the meantime, this probably bodes well for Circa’s Kentucky horse racing betting business. People will be more inclined to take them up on their online sports betting promotions as the spring season hits into high gear, especially when Keenland doesn’t offer an alternative.

All of which is to say: Circa is right to have high expectations for their Kentucky launch. The real question is whether they can sustain the early success they appear set up to enjoy. And that, as always, will be a matter that plays out over time. 

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your sports betting needs:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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