The first mental-image that many people have of gambling in Kentucky is the world-famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby, however, it’s not the only story when it comes to Kentucky gambling.

In the 1980’s, gambling was extended beyond horse racing with Kentucky’s excellent state lottery (available online and land-based), and DFS continues to be offered despite the State Government narrowly voting it down.

The flipside in Kentucky is the curious opposition to casinos and poker when the state is reasonably liberal towards online gaming and of course, horse racing.

Kentucky Casino Gambling

Kentucky’s State Government Statutes on Gambling make it very clear that bricks-and-mortar land-based casinos are a no-no at this point of time in the state.

Whilst land-based casinos in Kentucky are prohibited, the state is geographically close to other states (Indiana and Ohio) where land-based casinos are legal and available.

Online Casinos in Kentucky

Other than the Kentucky State Lottery, DFS and online horse racing betting, online gambling and casinos, players and operators are actively cracked down upon by lawmakers and the judicial system in the state of Kentucky and are not available at this point in time.

We recommend that online players in Kentucky should abstain from playing U.S.-based online casinos and offshore online casinos until such time that legalization of online casinos like those available at New Jersey online gambling sites takes place.

Currently in Kentucky, for those players wishing to gamble online, possibilities exist for legal state lottery play, online greyhound and horse racing betting and to play online in real money DFS competitions.

Poker in Kentucky

With no legal casinos or poker rooms in the state of Kentucky, there are few options for legal live poker in the state.

On the flip side, home poker games appear to be tolerated as are free poker tournaments (without entry fees). Players in social poker games are specifically excluded from criminal charges whilst persons organizing and profiting from home games can expect hefty fines and potential prison time.

Poker Rooms

At this time, there are no legal poker rooms available in the Bluegrass State of Kentucky.

Online Poker Laws

Kentucky’s online players are unable to play Poker online in the Bluegrass State, however, it’s not all bad news for the state’s potential online gamblers. The state has online betting options for the state lottery, DFS competitions and horse and greyhound racing.

Moreover, Kentucky’s State Legislators have been debating sports betting legalization options, a move that in other states has led to online poker coming along for the ‘legalization ride.’

  • 95% of funds for University scholarships available from Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) come from legal gambling (Kentucky Lottery Corporation).
  • 100% of funds for University scholarships available from Kentucky Education Excellence Scholarship (KEES) come from legal gambling (Kentucky Lottery Corporation).
  • In addition, the Kentucky Lottery funds;
  • The Dual Credit Scholarship Program.
  •  Kentucky Tuition Grants.
  • College Access Programs.
  • Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship.
  • 6% of Kentucky’s State Lottery proceeds go back to mostly Mom & Pop retailers who are selling the tickets.
  •  27% of Kentucky’s State Lottery proceeds go back into the state’s consolidated revenue to pay for infrastructure, schools, hospitals, policing, parks, roads etc.

History of Online & Land-Based Gambling in Kentucky

1862; All states except Kentucky and Missouri ban lotteries.

1875; Kentucky Downs racetrack opens as a crowd of 10 000 watches first the running of the Kentucky Derby.

1906; Horse Racing Betting legalized in Kentucky.

1988; Kentucky State Lottery created by State Referendum.

1992; Charitable Gaming legalized in Kentucky.

2001; First Online Game offered by the Kentucky State Lottery.

2008; Kentucky seize more than 140 poker and gambling domain names without notice.

2012; Land Based Casinos voted down in Kentucky.

2015; State Lottery offered permanently online in Kentucky.

2017; DFS legalization Bill HB 414 fails by only 3 votes to pass Kentucky State Legislature. Meanwhile, DFS continues in Kentucky.

Visit Our Page on Kentucky’s Online Sports Betting laws for reviews on the state’s top sportsbooks