Kentucky has limited casino activity, but offsets this with one of the best horse race track meets in the US, the Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby. That’s not to say that you cannot enjoy playing a few casino games via online. Many players are turning to online casino gaming, not just in Kentucky but around the world.
In summary the Kentucky gambling landscape is as follows:
- Support for the legalization of sports betting is strong, but has yet to pass and thus remains illegal.
- Daily Fantasy sports also remains illegal with legislation yet to pass.
- The state lottery has been put forward to oversee sports betting once it is legalized. The State Lottery also offers lottery gaming including an EquiLottery. Scientific Games continues to supply instant games for sale through the state lottery.
- Horse racing and betting with simulcast facilities are legal
- There is no land based casinos.
- Online offshore operators accept players from Kentucky
- There are no state regulated online onshore operators.
- Kentucky Lottery (state run) holds an exclusive license on the operation of lottery products.
- Commercial licenses are not available for land based casinos or tribal casinos on Indian reservation territory.
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Online casino activity is currently available and offered through various sites that are based offshore. We have therefore selected for you the current best online casinos based of three key criteria.
Our recommended list contains casinos that have been personally played by us and have been reviewed by thousands of US players. They are safe and secure to play at, with no risk posed to Kentucky players, both regarding legality or to player data protection.
The best online casinos all use the latest SSL internet technology, and feature secure payment methods that are common, trusted and processed by reputable financial institutions. These include: VISA, MasterCard, Amex, Bitcoin (BTC), direct wire transfers and many other methods.
Casino Bonuses are extremely important in selecting an online casino. We have therefore displayed some of the best casino bonuses that can be found whilst balancing other important criteria such as safety and security as previously mentioned. However, for ease of reference, we have listed them according to the size of bonus.
Without doubt, at the time of writing, El Royale Casino offers the best casino bonus deal. It is also one of the safest. Coupled with excellent customer service, El Royale is our top recommended online casino for Kentucky players.
Live Dealer Casinos
Live Casinos is the “in” thing at the moment. The best of two worlds, Live Casinos with Live Dealers combines real play video steamed to a player’s device and online casino bonuses plus convenience together.
What more could a table game player want? In Kentucky, the year 2020 saw a surge of players taking up Live Casino games – especially blackjack, roulette and baccarat. However, you will also be able to find Sic Bo, Pai Gow and many other.
Players are discovering that excitement of added features that cannot be found at a Vegas Casino. Read More here.
Sports Betting Sites
Sports betting remains illegal in the State of Kentucky. Therefore, if you are looking to place a bet on your favorite team, the only way is via online sports betting sites. Unknown to many, sports betting sites do exist and they are based offshore. They accept Kentucky bettors, with no precedence of any bettor being informed of a breach in law, let alone charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Daily Fantasy Sports is growing fast in popularity. New to the gambling scene, it is considered a game of skill by many which requires bettors to create a fictitious team based on real players. The performance of the real sports players in real life determine how successful the fictitious team is. As a result, it truly is those with the most “skills” will win.
The two dominate daily fantasy sports providers is DraftKings and FanDuel. On this site, we do not actively promote daily fantasy sports as we understand that it is a game of “skill” which is being exploited by bettors who have the best risk modelling. That is, it isn’t nearly about how well you know your sport, the sport players etc, it is very much about who has the best statistical model and who has access to the most detailed sports player data.
As someone who may be a big fan of sport, and thinking that they would have a good chance of winning money in DFS, think again. You are pitted against statistical modelling experts who deliberately target games that mostly have new players to DFS. In fact, it has been alleged that those who are extremely good at DFS have been known to collaborate among themselves and not compete with each other. Thereby creating a sustainable winning formula shared by the experts.
We therefore want our readers to be aware that DFS is not what is appears to be. In fairness, DFS is legal in Kentucky and many DFS onshore operators accept Kentucky players.
Kentucky Online Bingo
Kentucky bingo laws are stipulated under Charitable gaming state legislation. These laws provide for the licensing of non profit organizations to operate bingo games. At present, these laws do not address nor permit online bingo by onshore operators. Accordingly, online bingo sites that do accept Kentucky players are based offshore (which is the same as online casinos and sports betting sites).
The recommended online bingo sites all accept players from Kentucky. They offer advanced features that include instant messaging, fun bingo games and protocols that ensures bingo participants play together in a civil enjoyable manner. Due to the social aspect of bingo, there is a cultural aspect to bingo which cannot be found with casino or sports betting. As an example, A LOT of acronyms form part of instant chat messaging. If you are not familiar with online bingo lingo, do not be afraid, learning it is one of the most fun parts!
Legal Minimum Age
The legal minimum age is 18 for bingo, horse race betting.
- Onshore online operators are unlawful.
- Legislation does not expressly cover online gambling, but it is implied as being prohibited.
- On- and off-track pari-mutuel horse and dog race betting is permitted;
Charitable organizations may operate bingo, pull-tabs and raffles in bingo halls with limited prizes.
Surplus from the lottery is circulated to fund education and charitable purposes in Kentucky.
Regulation and Governance
Kentucky Revised Statutes
Kentucky Gambling Market Developments
- Limited forms of gambling are permitted in Kentucky and pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing is the predominant revenue driver;
- Strict penalties are imposed on players and operators for breaching legislative provisions and ISP blocking is in place to restrict online gambling sites from targeting players in Kentucky;
- A high number of unlawful slot machines and video poker machines operational led to investigations by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and other authorities;
- Gambling expansion is not projected going forward, at least in the short term.
EquiLottery, a game combining horse race betting and a lottery, received support from a recent survey which showed 48% of Kentucky residents would play the game weekly. The research was conducted by the EquiLottery company and Ipsos, a research company, to gauge the appeal of the game to Kentucky residents.
Senators McGarvey and Adams introduced a constitutional amendment bill to regulate casino gaming in the state. SB144 seeks to permit casinos across Kentucky and provides for the creation of a casino gaming regulator. The bill was referred to the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee, if it is successful in both the House and the Senate it will be included in the public referendum in November.
The State Lottery launched an online platform for ticket sales and interactive instant games. The platform was developed by IGT in a bid to make the lottery more appealing to a younger market, the Lottery set spending limits of $200 per day, $500 per week and $1000 per month on the online games.
Representative Dennis Keene proposed legislation to authorize and regulate land-based casino gaming in the state. The bill (Bill Request 149) would provide for four casino facilities as well as the operation of gaming machines at existing pari-mutuel wagering facilities. A gross win tax of 31% on all gaming operations was proposed and the fee for a ten-year, full casino license was set at $50m.
Senator, Julian Carroll, pre-filed legislation ahead of the 2018 legislative session to authorise and regulate sportsbetting. SB22 provides for the legalisation of sports betting at horseracing tracks and off-course wagering facilities in the event of the Supreme Court invalidating PASPA or its repealment by Congress. The bill entrusts the regulation of the industry to the racing commission and proposes a 20% turnover tax on all sports betting activity as well as an initial licensing fee $250k for operators.
Legislators pre-filed a range of bills ahead of the 2018 legislative session. The bills included SB 22 which sought to regulate sports betting provided PASPA is repealed and set a 20% gross win tax rate on the activity. Also, BR149 was introduced to authorize and regulate casino gaming in the state, the bill provided for the establishment of full casino facilities as well as allowing racing tracks to operate casino games, the tax rate was set at 30% of gross win.
Representative Jerry Miller introduced a constitutional amendment bill to authorize and regulate casino gaming in the state. HB229 sought to permit the development and operation of casinos across the state and provided for the establishment of a casino gaming regulator. In order to be enacted, the bill required the approval of a majority of voters during the next referendum.
Representative John Sims Jr introduced HB536 to permit sports betting on professional and collegiate sporting events across the state through lottery retailers, horse race tracks and simulcast facilities, provided PASPA is repealed.
Scientific Games secured an extension on their contract with the Kentucky Lottery to supply instant games for a further eight (8) years.
Legislators pre-filed BR29 for the 2019 legislative session, to authorize and regulate sports betting on professional and collegiate games with the exemption of high school level and below. Included within the bill was a handle tax rate of 3%, an annual license fee of $250k and the omission of an integrity fee
The state lottery announced a trial launch of “Win Place Show” an equilottery, based on the results of live horse racing. Lottery ticket purchase price set at $2 at participating retailers through the system that offers Powerball and Pick 3. Scheduled to commence 24 March 2019 for ninety days.
House Representative Dennis Keene pre-filed BR15 ahead of the 2019 legislative session to authorize sports betting in the state. The bill would permit sports wagering at lottery retailers, horse racing tracks and simulcast facilities and entrust the State Lottery Corporation to regulate and oversee the industry. The bill did not specify whether online and mobile sports betting would be permitted and did not include any detail on how the activity would be taxed.
Senator, Julian Carroll pre-filed BR320 ahead of the 2019 legislative session to authorize and regulate sports betting. The bill would create the Kentucky Gaming Commission to regulate and oversee all sports betting activity and proposes a 25% gross win tax on operators. The bill would allow the Kentucky Lottery Association and existing horse racing operators to be granted licenses and would impose an initial licensing fee of $250k and a
$25k annual renewal fee for operators. The bill did not specify whether mobile and online sports betting would be permitted.
The Attorney General wrote a letter to legislators that recommended the General Assembly to pass legislation to allow expanded gaming and sports betting. The letter recommended that all of the revenue would be dedicated to Kentucky pension systems until those systems are fully funded.
Representative Adam Koenig introduced HB 175 to authorize sports betting, online poker and fantasy sports in Kentucky. Under the provisions of the Bill, online poker sites could contract with the KLC; daily fantasy sports operators would also be granted licenses at $5,000 each.
Representative Adam Koenig pre-filed legislation to authorize sports betting, online poker and daily fantasy sports in Kentucky. The bill, HB 137, would permit retail and online sports betting at proposed tax rates of 10.25% and 14.25% respectively and require bettors to register their account’s in-person at the track. Online poker would be offered via contracts between operators and the Kentucky Lottery Corporation.
Governor Andy Beshear announced his support for legalized sports betting and called on state legislators to pass HB 137 to authorize and regulate the activity. The Governor also reiterated that the bill, as well as any other expansion of gambling in the state, would not require a constitutional amendment to take effect.
Is it legal to gamble online in Kentucky?
Gambling laws vary for each type of game. Online games are not permitted to be offered by onshore gaming operators. As a result, online operators are based offshore at regulated and licensed jurisdictions. Kentucky players are accepted by the offshore operators. In regards, to player legality, the laws neither explicitly declare online gambling as illegal or legal. As a result Kentucky players can continue to enjoy playing online games.
What is the legal minimum age to play at online casinos?
Legal minimum ages vary from online casino to online casino, however their requirement is that the higher of the player’s jurisdiction and the online casino’s own legal minimum is taken to be the determine age limit. Kentucky, however, does not have any legal land based casino activity and therefore does not have a legal minimum age. Therefore the legal minimum age to play at online casinos is 21. If in doubt, please check directly with the online casino.