The Bluegrass State looks like becoming a desert island of resistance surrounded by a sea of sports gambling when Ohio launches in 2023.
It may in principle be one of the most famous gambling locations in the US – the Kentucky Derby is among the best-known sports events in the world and horse race betting is legal – but sports betting has struggled to gain a footing, with no signs of any movement in the law in the near future.
Those in favor of introducing gambling legislation point to the millions of dollars leaving the state as people cross borders to place bets in neighboring states, with lawmakers there happy to take the Kentucky bettors’ gambling tax. But the opposition remains strong, and even with Ohio on the verge of launching sports betting, Kentucky legislature appears unlikely to follow suit.
Offshore sportsbooks are open to Kentucky players but there is a clear warning against using these sites as they do not come under US jurisdiction, and it is not legal for them to accept bets from US citizens.
Sports betting remains illegal with no clear indication there’ll be any changes in the law soon. Whereas many states have the option of some gambling at land-based casinos, Kentucky is one of only a handful that have no casinos.
Along with no sports betting there are no casinos – either online or land-based.
Poker in Kentucky
Online poker is illegal with no in-person options to play either. Offshore sportsbooks offering online poker operate outside of US law, so players participate at their own risk and with no consumer protection.
It seems slightly at odds with the state’s gambling posture that it is one of the world’s hotspots for horse racing. The Kentucky Derby is run at Churchill Downs and there are several other tracks, all offering on-track betting, with advance-deposit wagering also available through operators like TwinSpires.
Lottery in Kentucky
A state lottery has been running since 1989 and along with retailers selling tickets up and down the state, there are also online sales available. Players must be 18 to participate.
DFS games are not regulated in Kentucky but events run by the likes of FanDuel and DraftKings are open to entries from the state.
Kentucky Online Gambling FAQs:
Is gambling legal in Kentucky?
Sports betting is not legal in Kentucky with most forms of gambling outlawed in the state apart from horse race betting, the state lottery and DFS competitions.
Where in Kentucky can I get help with problem gambling?
Gambling can be enjoyable for most people, but some find it can become problematic. If you are struggling to cope with your gambling, or a friend or relative has a problem, help is available. For more information, see Kentucky – National Council on Problem Gambling (ncpgambling.org).