Kentucky Online Gambling Sites
As the home of the Kentucky Derby, logic would dictate that this state, of all states should have some excellent Kentucky online gambling sites.. Unfortunately, logic doesn’t always dictate our legislative decision making, and Kentucky has some of the most restrictive gambling laws in the country. Most forms of gambling are disallowed by state law with the exception of horse betting. Like other states in the region, Kentucky’s gambling industry is held back by religious interests in the state government who strongly oppose gambling on moral grounds.
Outside of that proud tradition of horse racing, most Kentucky online gambling sites are actually based in other countries. These gambling websites are legal and safe for players, so the only downside is that money wagered with these sites is leaving the state economy. Kentucky has made small inroads on certain forms of gambling, including being one of the only states to sell lottery tickets online and the authorization of an online pari-mutuel wagering platform run by Churchill Downs.
This page will cover all forms of gambling in Kentucky, both those with state-licensed options and those that are only available via international websites. Some of the important information on this page includes the laws regulating both retail gambling and Kentucky online gambling sites, how to participate in various forms of gambling ranging like online slots and sports betting, how to gamble using your phone, and many more topics. The goal is to ensure that our Kentucky readers are as informed as possible about the gambling landscape of the Bluegrass State.
Largest Gambling CitiesLexington, Louisville
Number Of Land Based Casinos9 racetracks, no full casinos
State Licensed DFSYes
State Licensed Sports BettingNo
Land Based Poker RoomsNo
Mobile Betting OptionsHorse Racing
Best Kentucky Gambling Sites
To find the best gambling sites for Kentucky players, USAOnlineGambling looks through dozens of different gambling sites. Each of these sites claims to be the best, but many simply don’t meet the standards to even merit consideration from smart players. To filter out those that aren’t worth your time, we thoroughly examine each site, testing their quality, probing for their reliability, and tallying their features and options. This process allows us to eliminate sites that don’t meet universal standards of quality.
As a result, all the sites we recommend are not only safe and legal, but intuitive and enjoyable for their players as well. They all offer great betting options, easy banking, and most importantly, a sterling reputation with their player base. Once these universal qualities are established, determining the best site becomes moderately subjective as different players prioritize different things in a gambling site. Instead of limiting our recommendation to one inflexible site, we provide our readers with all the information they need to make an informed decision about which gambling site is best for them.
How We Pick The Best Kentucky Gambling Sites
Choosing the best Kentucky gambling sites involves a long, detailed process of systematically eliminating websites that don’t meet the standards that players have come to expect from their gambling sites, then finding the unique qualities and drawbacks of remaining sites. For players risking real money, nothing is more frustrating than a gambling site that clearly doesn’t prioritize its players. Sites that don’t adequately protect player data or that have inadequate payout rates or meager betting options simply aren’t worth anyone’s time.
Our review process filters out all the websites that can’t meet the baseline requirements for a high-quality user experience, leaving only the best online gambling sites that prioritize their players. Each site we recommend has its own strengths, weaknesses and quirks - things like the number of available prop bets for sporting events or the user interface - but all of them are good enough to merit real consideration. Here are a few of the essential qualities to an online betting site:
Different Types Of Online Gambling In Kentucky
Online gambling is extremely limited in Kentucky. In terms of state-sanctioned options, the only ones available in the Bluegrass State are horse betting and lottery tickets. Thankfully, most forms of online gambling are legal and accessible in Kentucky using international gambling sites. By using these safe websites, which are trusted by millions of players around the world, players can access everything from online poker to sports betting to casino games with a live dealer, all from the comfort of their own home.
Kentucky Online Casinos
Kentucky does not even have state-licensed retail casinos, let alone online casinos. Thankfully, Kentucky players can still access all their favorite casino games online using international gambling sites like Ignition and Bovada. These sites offer as many casino gaming options as the best brick-and-mortar casinos in the world, and they boast superior performance and faster payouts as well. These USA online casinos offer everything you would find in a normal casino, including poker, slots, blackjack, keno, and more. Even if Kentucky did have physical casinos, global online casinos would likely be a superior option. The best sites also offer huge deposit bonuses to help new players out.
Kentucky Online Sportsbooks
Outside of one licensed horse betting site that is associated with Churchill Downs, Kentucky doesn’t offer any state-sanctioned online or brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Kentucky residents can still bet on sports online through online sportsbooks based in other countries. These sportsbooks offer an overwhelmingly huge number of events and leagues to wager on, with an unrivaled selection of prop bets and live sports betting options as well. They also allow sports fans to quickly build their own bets with just a few clicks. Sports betting relies heavily on finding the best odds, so players are encouraged to check multiple USA online sportsbooks to shop lines before placing a bet.
Kentucky Online Poker Sites
As with other forms of gambling, Kentucky does not have a state-licensed USA online poker sites and players instead must play using international poker sites. They can do so by registering an account and then downloading a site’s unique poker software. This software allows players to play online both against other players and against computer dealers for games like three-card stud. Online poker offers both streamlined play and a selection of intriguing tournament options that can win players big rewards even with a low buy-in.
Kentucky Online DFS
Although daily fantasy sports (DFS) legalization bills were shot down several times by the Kentucky Legislature, it is now legal and all major DFS providers are now operating in the state. DFS functions similarly to traditional fantasy, except that lineups are reset after every game and teams are constructed using a salary cap system rather than a draft. This ensures that strategy and knowledge win out over luck, and that injuries and suspensions to key players don’t tank a DFS player’s entire season.
Kentucky Online Bingo
Online bingo has not yet found the massive popularity of other online games like poker and blackjack, but it does have its own cult following. Like other forms of online gambling, the only legal way to play real money online bingo in Kentucky is through international online casinos like Bovada. These online casinos sometimes feature different variations of Bingo, like 30-ball or 80-ball, but their main draw is their speed and convenience. Online bingo games can fill out cards for players automatically and alert them when they’ve reached a bingo, and drawing numbers moves much faster in online bingo as well.
Kentucky Online Lottery
For all its gambling law-related flaws, Kentucky actually has very progressive lottery laws that allow the state to sell lottery tickets online. Only six states in the country offer that service. There are nine different draw games in Kentucky, and tickets for five of those games can be purchased online. There are also dozens of scratch-offs (retail only) and instant play games to choose from. There are no reputable international online lotteries, so if you want to buy lottery tickets online, do it through the Kentucky Lottery’s official website. Read more on OUR Kentucky Lottery Tickets page.
Kentucky Online Horse Racing
Online horse betting (also called pari-mutuel wagering) is legal in Kentucky. The two main state-sanctioned websites for horse betting in Kentucky are TVG, a multi-state pari-mutuel betting platform, and Twin Spires, a website run by the Churchill Downs track in the state. There are also eight off-track betting parlors scattered throughout the state. Players can also find better odds and more prop bets for their favorite horse races through international online horse racing betting sportsbooks like BetOnline and MyBookie.
Best Kentucky Gambling Sites
Kentucky Online Slots
Slots are so ubiquitously popular that they’re either the first or second thing most people imagine when they think of gambling (the other being poker). Slots are simple and approachable for inexperienced bettors while still offering potential great rewards. Online slots are even better because sites can offer hundreds or thousands of different slot machines at no added cost. A real-life slot machine requires lots of physical space and thousands of dollars in machinery, but USA online slots require only some computing power and an algorithm. This improved player choice, along with the other benefits of online gambling, makes online slots a no-brainer for anyone who enjoys slot machines.
Mobile Gambling In Kentucky
Mobile gambling in Kentucky is still in its infant stages. Lottery tickets can be purchased via mobile device on the Kentucky Lottery’s official app, and players can wager on horse racing on their mobile devices as well through TVG and Twin Spires. There are also a variety of free mobile casino apps that don’t allow you to bet real money but attempt to simulate normal casino games. But the best mobile gambling options by far are the optimized mobile sites for online casinos.
Mobile Sports Betting Apps
Kentucky lacks state-sponsored sports betting, but mobile users can still bet online using global online sportsbooks like Bovada and MyBookie. These sportsbooks have a huge selection of betting options, including live and in-play betting. More importantly, they heavily prioritize mobile play and have developed optimized mobile websites for use on smartphones and tablets. International gambling sites can’t offer downloadable apps in American app stores, but these mobile gambling sites function identically. If you want to bet on your favorite teams while watching games with your friends, there are no better options than mobile betting with an international sportsbook.
Mobile Casinos Apps
The only casino apps available in Kentucky are free apps with no real money gambling options. Like with sports betting, Kentucky players can still access online casinos from their phones, but instead of a dedicated app, they must play through a specialized mobile site. While this sounds inconvenient, these mobile sites are designed to grant access to each online casino’s full range of features and gaming types. Mobile users are automatically redirected to these specialized sites, which are designed to emulate a normal app in both interface and functionality.
Real Money Online Gambling Sites In Kentucky
Despite the legal restrictions on gambling, Kentucky gamblers can still bet and win (and lose) real money on a wide assortment of gambling activities. International online gambling sites accept a variety of different payment types for both deposits and withdrawals, with the most common and ideal method being cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Most sites offer deposit bonuses where they match your first deposit up to a certain percentage, which is hugely helpful in getting the ball rolling as a bettor. Withdrawals can be slightly tricky because banks can’t process payments directly from these gambling sites, so cryptocurrency should be used instead.
Free Online Gambling In Kentucky
There are free casino apps available for players in Kentucky, but without something tangible at risk, gambling feels hollow. Free poker apps like Zynga and Appeak also offer a well-developed but ultimately empty imitation of a real gambling experience. The best free online gambling comes in the form of free play options on real online casinos, which allow players to get a feel for their systems before risking real money. Free daily fantasy is also a great deal of fun as a way to compete with friends or test your knowledge of your favorite sport.
Is Online Gambling Legal In Kentucky?
Kentucky is not one of the many US states that have state regulated online gambling. Online lottery ticket sales and horse betting are both state-regulated in Kentucky, but most forms of betting are strictly controlled or prohibited entirely. Players can still participate in these alternative forms of gambling using websites based in other countries. These international websites are perfectly legal and safe because they don’t fall under the jurisdiction of either state or federal government. Users at these websites still must have a valid form of government-issued ID to prove that they meet the minimum age requirements, but there are no legal barriers to gambling online with non-domestic operators.
There are two major forces at odds in the war for gambling regulation at the state level in Kentucky. The state’s strong Evangelical contingent feel a strong moral aversion to gambling and exercise their considerable social and political capital to fight against initiatives to expand gambling operations in Kentucky. On the other hand, Kentucky is one of the world’s largest markets for horse racing, which makes the majority of its money through gambling. These two parties have reached an uneasy balance in recent years, but proposals to regulate sports betting and launch a casino industry at the state level have prompted harsh critical reaction. Unless proponents of state-regulated online gambling can come up with a new compelling argument, the legislature is unlikely to be swayed for the foreseeable future.
Online Gambling Laws In Kentucky
Predictably, gambling in Kentucky has always revolved around the horse racing business. The first (illegal) gambling clubs in the state began in the late 19th century and competed against each other on the racetrack. Clubs like the Primrose Club, the Flamingo, and the Beverly Hills Club were heavily involved with both bootlegging and gambling, and these rival clubs often came to blows. Interestingly, there was never a major legal dispute over pari-mutuel wagering, and when the issue was broached, it was quickly and quietly determined that the industry was essential to the state. Unfortunately, other forms of gambling, including online gambling, were never given these historical protections.
Legal Gambling Age In KentuckyThe legal gambling ages for most forms of legal gambling in Kentucky is 18 years old. Unfortunately, there aren’t very many legal forms of gambling in Kentucky. Daily fantasy games are locked to players who aren’t at least 21 years old. International gambling websites are open to all players who are 18 years old or older. Because these sites are regulated by their country of origin, Kentucky state age laws do not apply to them.
- Lottery: 18
- Parimutuel: 18
- Casinos: n/a
- Bingo: 18
- Online Poker: 18
- DFS: 21
- Sports Betting: 18
Where Are Kentucky Gambling Sites Regulated?
Twin Spires is regulated by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, while the lottery is its own state agency. The majority of gambling sites available to Kentucky players, those based in other countries, are regulated by their home countries. While there are fewer restrictions overall on international gambling sites, they are still held to very strict standards of data security, customer service and payout rates to ensure that they aren’t abusing their loyal players.
Who Can Play At Kentucky Online Gambling Sites?
Many don’t know this but Kentucky gambling sites are available for all players, even those outside of the Bluegrass State. Twin Spires is an exception to this rule, but most of the websites used by Kentucky players are international websites available to the vast majority of Americans. Players in Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri, etc. can still access all the same sites as those in Kentucky, with nearly the exact same rules (tax rates are the only major difference between states).
Taxes On Gambling Winnings In Kentucky
Gambling tax in Kentucky: 25% (federal) + 6% (state income tax, with provisional rebates available)
All gambling winnings in Kentucky, even those won with an international gambling website, are subject to both the universal 25% federal tax on gambling winnings and Kentucky’s maximum state income tax rate of 6%. Players who make less than $75,000 per year can earn a refund on a portion of their in-state tax payments on gambling winnings when they file their tax returns. It is highly advised that you always report gambling winnings on your taxes, as failing to do so is felony tax evasion.
Gambling Revenue In Kentucky
Right now, the vast majority of gambling revenue in Kentucky goes to companies that aren’t even located in the United States. Kentucky’s race tracks still handle hundreds of millions of dollars in wagers every year, but this is a drop in the bucket compared to the billions of dollars handled in states with full gambling regulation at the state level. Kentucky lottery revenue goes toward the Commonwealth, which then distributes it in the form of grants or college scholarships. Assuming gambling tax revenues would be distributed similarly, the state could be missing out on hundreds of millions of tax dollars.
Future Of Kentucky Online Gambling
Although the Kentucky Legislature has been very supportive of regulating online horse betting through Churchill Downs’s Twin Spires website, Kentucky online gambling appears to be in a state of perpetual purgatory. Although there is definite interest in regulating online gambling from the state’s residents, government representatives are unlikely to make more than incremental moves toward state level regulation for fear of angering Kentucky’s many powerful religious groups. Twin Spires has proven successful so far, and there have been recently proposed bills to regulate sports betting, but for now, it seems that online gambling is a long way off in Kentucky.