KHRC approves new sports and ESPN BET launch

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The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has signed off on several changes to its framework regulating the Bluegrass State and has given the green light for the permanent license for ESPN BET

Meeting yesterday, the Sports Wagering Advisory Council at the regulator switched ESPN’s temporary license to a permanent one, allowing the new sportsbook brand to remain in the state for the foreseeable future. 

Penn Entertainment first launched in Kentucky when the state launched in September under its previous guise, Barstool Sportsbook. But once ESPN BET went live on November 14, the operator worked with the regulatory body, like others across the country, to secure a permanent license for the new skin of the app. 

ESPN BET rolled out in 17 states earlier this month and in the last week since, the sportsbook has been popular amongst users, topping the charts of app stores for free apps. 

However, it won’t be until early December at the earliest that regulators offer a glimpse of the sportsbook’s performance as revenue reports come in. Given the way that various states publish revenue reports, it could be some months down the line before a true reflection of ESPN BET’s performance can be visible. 

Meanwhile, the KHRC Sports Wagering Advisory Council added several new sports to its official catalog of approved sports. These include NCAA Volleyball, NBA 2K League and the UFC Contender Series.

The sports in that catalog that are approved to be wagered on include all of the major sports leagues, esports, F1 and MMA. However notable omissions include prop betting on college athletes, betting on non-sporting events like awards ceremonies and fixed-odds betting on dog or horse racing.

Gov. Andy Beshear takes to X, formerly Twitter, to update the public on betting handle in the state. In his latest update, Beshear noted that nearly $448m has been wagered since sports betting began on September 7

He added: “That means dollars will stay right here to help us build a better commonwealth for all our families. Whatever team you’re betting on, it’s a win for Team Kentucky.”