Kentucky is home to some of the strictest gambling laws in the United States. Casino gambling and tribal gambling are both illegal, and with that, Poker is outlawed. The only legal gambling types for Kentucky residents to participate in is horse betting and the lottery.
There have been many attempts to reverse the ban on commercial and tribal casinos in the state of Kentucky, with no luck. Kentucky residents have to venture to neighboring states to get a taste of casino gambling, like Indiana or Illinois who have riverboat casinos that can be costly to board.
So, with all of these restrictions, is it likely that sports betting will be legalized in Kentucky anytime soon? We assume not in 2020 as a recent bill sponsored by Representative Adam Koenig failed this past March. This means that sports betting could possibly not be voted on until the 2022 term unless there is a new and improved bill in 2021 that would be a much tougher route.
The bill in question, House Bill 137, would have legalized sports betting, online poker, and daily fantasy sports in the state of Kentucky, and it was promising for a time, as Governor Andy Beshear and Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer were supportive of this bill. The Republican members blocked the bill, even though Koenig had enough votes, he still needed to get the bill to a place where it can be voted on.
There is a short 30-day session in 2021, where Koenig could bring his bill back to life, but it is more unlikely to have sports betting legalized in Kentucky than if he were to put the bill forth on an even year like 2022.
Can I bet on sports in Kentucky?
No, currently you cannot bet on sports in Kentucky. However, they didn’t update their online gambling laws when they banned fantasy betting. There is no rule or law that prohibits online gambling, including sports betting at offshore online sportsbooks.
So yes, you can bet on sports in Kentucky - online at a safe and secure online sportsbook. Many are afraid of online sportsbooks because some are indeed sketchy and have been known to advertise via computer pop-ups that we’re all trained to never click. Which makes sportsbooks seem scammy and unsafe.
We have sportsbook reviews here at OnlineSportsBetting, that we ourselves have compiled subjectively, that we have used ourselves and continue to use to place our bets week-after-week. We would never recommend a sportsbook that isn’t safe, secure, and user-friendly.
Betting on Kentucky Sports Teams
There are no professional sports teams in Kentucky unfortunately, but they do have a few collegiate teams that gain a lot of traction in the community – one, in particular, is worth betting on.
The Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team is one of the top teams in college basketball. They have coach John Calipari currently at the helm, and during his nine years as coach, the team only missed the NCAA Tournament once. Missing March Madness once isn’t such a big deal when you have two National Title appearances and a title within eight years as coach.
Kentucky is home to one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The Kentucky Derby.
The state plays host to the main event in horse racing, every year, since 1875. The Kentucky Derby is a huge tourist attraction and holds a prize purse of over $2 million. Held at Churchill Downs, in Louisville Kentucky, they have a dedicated betting racebook called Twin Spires, that allows you to bet on horses year-round.
While there are no casinos or sportsbooks in the state of Kentucky, you are able to place horse bets at any of the horse racing tracks. Any of these tracks could be homes to sports betting offerings if sports betting is legalized in the state of Kentucky.
- Churchhill Downs in Louisville
- Ellis Park in Henderson
- Keeneland Association in Lexington
- Kentucky Downs in Franklin
- Turfway Park in Florence
There are also some very good options for off-track betting in Kentucky.
Top Online Sportsbooks for Betting in Kentucky
Online sportsbooks are a dime a dozen. Many of which are confusing to understand all of the rules and stipulations. You want to sign up at a sportsbook that you feel comfortable using, that has great bonuses and promotions and even loyalty programs if you plan to wager a lot.
The deposit options available can make or break a relationship between a bettor and a sportsbook. You want to be able to use a convenient and safe deposit method when betting on sports. Many people don’t use a laptop when betting, so mobile-friendliness is important to have as an option – especially if you’re on the go and in a pinch to place a quick bet before the game starts.
We have taken the research out of the equation for you. We have compiled in-depth sportsbook reviews that can help you make an educated decision before registering at a sportsbook. We chose the top sportsbooks and wrote subjective reviews to help you choose the right online sportsbook for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gambling in Kentucky
Is sports betting legal in Kentucky?
Currently, no. Sports betting is illegal in Kentucky until a sports betting bill is voted on and passed by the House of Representatives. Residents will need to leave the state to bet on sports or bet online at an offshore sportsbook.
Can I bet on sports online in Kentucky?
Yes, you can sign up at an offshore online sportsbook, that is free of Kentucky legal regulations. It’s important to do your research and find a trustworthy site to play at, like Bovada or BetOnline.
Is daily fantasy sports legal in Kentucky?
No, Daily Fantasy Sports is illegal in Kentucky. There are bans on playing in DFS contests and leagues, but if the sports betting bill sponsored by Koenig is passed, daily fantasy is included in that bill, so it will be legal in that circumstance.
When will sports betting be legalized in Kentucky?
It’s hard to say, as the 2020 bill to legalize sports betting in Kentucky just failed. There is a slight chance of sports betting being legalized in the state in 2021 during a small 30-day session, but if that also fails, the next opportunity would be in 2022.