Kentucky Online Casino Real Money – Gambling Laws in The Bluegrass State

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Playing at Kentucky online casinos is now possible thanks to our team which selected the best ones for you! Some of the most awesome slots and table games are waiting for you to try them.

Residents who want to gamble online need alternate options outside the Bluegrass State. Most gamblers find their best options to be offshore casino sites due to their game variations and promotions.

This guide provides full information on Kentucky gambling laws, potential legislative changes that affect online players, and where to gamble in the state.

Summary of Kentucky Gambling Laws

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Kentucky generally restricts gambling, and many activities remain either outlawed or unregulated by the state. While you can bet on sports in the Bluegrass State, you are highly limited in how you wager on games like blackjack, poker, and roulette.

Here’s the latest status of gambling in KY:

GamblingKentucky
Is Online Gambling Legal?Yes (Offshore only)
Playing at Online CasinosYes (Offshore only)
Legal Age Online18
Land-Based CasinosYes (Instant racing betting machines only)
Legal Age Land-Based18
Online Sports BettingYes
Charitable GamblingYes
State LotteryYes
Social GamingYes

Gambling in KY is legal for sports betting, pari-mutuel horse racing, lotteries, bingo halls, and some poker rooms. Most other forms of gaming are outlawed, as stated in Kentucky Revised Statutes.

Kentucky’s state government has yet to legalize online gambling, and there are no tribal or commercial casinos operating in the state. The lack of KY online casinos doesn’t prevent players from joining out-of-state sites. Here’s the legal status for each form of gambling in the Bluegrass State.

GamblingKentucky Legal Status
Casino GamblingKentucky takes a dim view of casino gambling. There are no traditional or tribal venues in the state. Instead, four establishments offering instant racing betting machines provide the closest experience possible to in-person slots gaming.
PokerPoker is generally not permitted in the Bluegrass State, particularly online. However, poker is available to play at member clubs such as The Royal Social Poker Club in London, KY, where there is no rake in the game.
Horse Racing BettingHorse racing betting is big business. The state is home to the Kentucky Derby, and there are 10 racetracks and satellite facilities where you can bet in person.
Dog Racing BettingDog racing is banned in the Bluegrass State and generally outlawed across the United States.
LotteryThe Kentucky Lottery was launched on April 4, 1989, after voters backed a ballot the previous year. The state joined Powerball in 1991, and since then, 18 KY residents have claimed the big jackpot.
Daily Fantasy SportsKentucky has yet to regulate Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), and the state government has yet to pass legislation on the activity. However, no bills have outlawed DFS either.
Sports BettingSports betting is legal. Retail and online sports betting launched in September 2023. Sports betting is now available at eight existing racetracks. The legislation allows up to 27 sports betting sites, although only seven are currently active.
Charitable GamingCharitable gaming is permitted so long as applicants hold a license. Each organization is permitted four licenses per year, two of which can be for roulette, card games, and other casino-style games.
Social GamblingSocial gambling is generally permitted as long as there is no rake. KRS 528.010 states: “A person who gambles at a social game of chance on equal terms with other participants does not otherwise advance gambling activity”. You can therefore play cards with friends at home without much risk of the police getting involved or play games that don’t carry cash prizes, like those on Facebook.
Online GamblingOnline gambling in Kentucky is not regulated by the state, and thus no in-state online casino sites exist. However, no player has ever been prosecuted for accessing gambling sites based outside of the state.

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Where to Gamble in Kentucky

online casino ky

Kentucky is a passionate horse racing state yet has a mixed relationship with gambling. The state doesn’t have any commercial or tribal casinos, but horse racing betting facilities are abundant. Sports betting recently passed through the state legislature, but online casinos are still waiting to join the party.

Land-Based Casinos in Kentucky

Kentucky lacks land-based casinos, although Governor Andy Beshear has expressed interest in legalizing them to bolster public finances. However, no significant strides toward legalization have been made.

Currently, the only form of casino-style gambling available is through historical horse racing (HHR) machines found at the state’s nine licensed racetracks. HHRs function similarly to slots but are technically distinct from traditional slot machines.

Horse & Dog Tracks

Racetracks are the best place to gamble in person across Kentucky. There are nine racetracks with active gambling licenses where you can wager on historic horse racing (HHR) and live horse races. This includes the iconic Churchill Downs and new sites like Sandy’s Racing Gaming.

Dog racing is prohibited and there are no dog tracks in the state.

Online Sports Betting

Kentucky online sports betting launched in September 2023 in time for the pro football season after the state passed. As of 2024, only seven of the 27 available online sports betting licenses are active. An eighth is approved but not in use.

Bettors can wager on fixed odds, props, and lines from a wide range of sports. However, KY-based online sportsbooks are unavailable for college sports, politics, and entertainment.

Bingo Halls and Charitable Gambling

KRS Chapter 238 outlines the laws around charitable gaming in the state, which the Department of Charitable Gaming (DCG) regulates. Organizations are charged a fee of 0.00575% of their gross receipts from charitable gaming. Bingo, pull tabs, raffles, and other games of chance like roulette are permitted.

KRS 238.505(2) states “slot machines, electronic video gaming devices, wagering on live sporting events, or simulcast broadcasts of horse races” are not included. There are 33 bingo halls in KY, from Franklin to Winchester. (Guide to Charitable Gaming in the Commonwealth of Kentucky)

Social Gaming at Home

Kentucky’s laws don’t address social gaming at home. However, you are not permitted to advertise or take a rake or fee from hosting social games such as poker and blackjack. Therefore, card games and betting among friends at home is permitted so long as you don’t shout about it too loudly.

Poker Rooms and Clubs

Poker isn’t allowed in The Bluegrass State due to the absence of casinos hosting poker games. However, KY residents can still play poker at private members’ clubs in the state.

These clubs charge a membership fee but don’t take a commission from games or tournaments. Additionally, online poker isn’t accessible within Kentucky unless one joins an out-of-state platform.

In 2023, state legislators attempted to regulate online poker through House Bill 106, but the bill wasn’t successful.

Casino Cruises

There are no casino cruises in Kentucky. The closest is the Caesars Southern Indiana Riverboat casino, which is located 15 miles from Louisville, across the Ohio River on the Indiana side

Real Money Online Casino Kentucky – Games You Can Play

real money online casino kentucky

Kentucky’s lack of state-regulated online casinos doesn’t mean you can’t gamble online. In fact, there are plenty of options for KY residents. The easiest way to access real money casino games is to join an offshore site. Here are some of the games available right now:

Online Slots

Online slots are only available to KY players who join offshore online casinos. These sites provide hundreds of titles with varying bonus sizes and extra features.

Many gambling sites have jackpots, which come in two types: fixed or progressive. Progressive jackpots can get really big, offering players a chance to win huge amounts. Players love these slots because they offer big prizes that can change their lives.

Unfortunately, in-person slot machines are not permitted in the state. Games such as historic horse racing machines (HHRs) simulate slots, but they are not quite the same thing.

Online Poker

Kentucky doesn’t regulate online poker, so US-based sites can’t operate competitions there. Playing in-person poker is only possible at card clubs.

Due to these restrictions, many players join offshore casino sites instead. These sites can host tournaments and offer video poker games.

Blackjack

Due to the absence of real-money casinos in Kentucky, playing blackjack within the state is not an option.

The nearest destination with such games is the Caesars Southern Indiana Hotel & Casino near Louisville. For those in KY looking to play online blackjack, offshore sites are the only choice.

These platforms offer a range of live tables, including popular variants like Perfect Pairs, Single Deck, Multi-Deck, and Rolling Stack.

Live Dealer Games

KY restricts live dealer games, allowing charitable organizations only two licenses per year. However, offshore sites step in to provide access to numerous live dealer tables.

Kentucky’s online casinos feature a variety of games, such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat, Super 6 Pai Gow, and Casino Hold’em. Some games even allow interaction with other players, enhancing the social aspect of the experience.

Other Available Games at Kentucky Online Casinos

Kentucky residents can play plenty of other casino games, but their availability is generally restricted to those available at offshore sites. Here are some of the games you can access:

Top Bonuses at Gambling Sites for Kentucky Players

The rise in online gambling popularity in Kentucky follows the legalization of sports wagering statewide in 2023. While the focus may shift to online casinos in the future, currently, players can only access out-of-state gambling sites in KY.

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Kentucky Online Gambling Laws

Kentucky has traditionally been unfriendly towards gambling, but there’s a shifting attitude. The recent approval of online sports betting, followed by the successful launch of seven sportsbooks in September 2023, has sparked discussions about the broader gambling landscape in the state.

While traditional table games and slots are still off-limits, KY allows Historical Horse Racing (HHR) machines at racetracks and satellite tracks. Additionally, charitable and social gaming activities are permitted.

Is Online Gambling Legal in Kentucky?

Kentucky’s laws, found in statutes 230.010 and 528.010, primarily address sports betting and gambling, with no specific provisions for online casinos.

Consequently, online gambling is not allowed within the state, and no licenses are issued for such operations in the Bluegrass State.

Unlike states that have started easing gaming laws to allow limited casinos and card rooms, the state restricts gaming activities to horse racing betting. As a result, there are no gaming venues in the state, whether Native American-owned or otherwise.

No laws for or against online casinos in KY

Kentucky currently lacks laws specifically addressing online gambling legality. While regulations for online sports betting have been considered, online casinos remain unaddressed by the state legislature

As a result, online casinos are not permitted within the state’s borders. However, residents can still access offshore casino sites for their gaming needs.

In KY, horse racing betting is legal

Horse racing betting was the only form of regulated in-person betting in Kentucky before online sports wagering was permitted in 2023. The law permits racetracks to operate pari-mutuel wagering. (KRS Chapter 528)

Kentucky doesn’t like slot machines

The state legislature moved to ban ‘gray machines’ that simulate slot machine gameplay in 2023. These machines were deemed to be a form of gambling and were scattered across the state in gas stations, stores, and bars. (House Bill 594)

Kentucky outlaws gambling promotion

KY residents are not permitted to promote gambling activity. KRS 506.040 states: (1) A person is guilty of conspiracy to promote gambling when he conspires to advance or profit from gambling activity. (2) “Conspire” means to engage in activity constituting a criminal conspiracy as defined in KRS 506.040. (3) Conspiracy to promote gambling is a Class D felony.”

Players can hold social games at home, such as a poker night with friends. However, advertising the game and taking a rake from the activity is an offense. (KRS 506.040)

*Please be advised that the information provided on this page does not constitute legal advice. Our team strongly recommends you seek professional counsel from a qualified attorney regarding your specific questions or concerns on the topic.

Kentucky Online Gambling vs. Neighboring States

There is a big disparity of attitudes towards gambling in these states, with KY stuck in the middle. Here is what you can wager on – and what you can’t – in neighboring states to Kentucky:

US StatePlaying at Online CasinosState Regulated CasinosSocial CasinosOnline Sports BettingLotteryFantasy SportsCharitable Gaming
KentuckyGray AreaNot LegalLegalLegalLegalLegalLegal
West VirginiaLegalLegalLegalLegalLegalLegalLegal
VirginiaGray AreaNot LegalLegalLegalLegalLegalLegal
TennesseeGray AreaNot LegalLegalLegalLegalLegalLegal
MissouriGray AreaNot LegalLegalPending LegislationLegalLegalLegal
IllinoisGray AreaNot LegalLegalLegalLegalLegalLegal
IndianaGray AreaNot LegalLegalLegalLegalLegalLegal
OhioGray AreaNot LegalLegalLegalLegalLegalLegal

Kentucky borders one of the six U.S. states that regulate their online gambling industry: West Virginia. Players in KY cannot access these sites, however, unless they cross the border. Most therefore choose offshore sites instead, which is the option for residents of all other neighboring states.

Missouri is the only neighboring state to KY not to govern online sports betting. However, 2024 could be the year the Show-Me State joins the party.

Tennessee joins Kentucky in having no land-based casinos and is generally hostile to forms of gambling. However, even TN approved legal sports betting in the state in 2020.

Kentucky Online Casino – Tips to Play Safely

Each site recommended at GambleOnline passes our safety test before we suggest them to players. However, before using any website or going into any casino, we suggest players follow responsible gaming practices. Here are some tips you can follow to choose the best online casino for you:

Find a Reputable Site

Make sure that you only sign up for a website that has undergone rigorous safety evaluations and maintains a strong reputation for prioritizing player well-being. Sites with licenses follow tight guidelines to protect players and guarantee ethical gaming.

Read Reviews

Make sure to check out our expert reviews of all the recommended gambling sites in Kentucky. Consider what matters most to you, whether it’s payment options or the variety of games available.

Look for Security Guarantees

Top casino sites run 256-bit secure socket layering (SSL) encryption or Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption as standard. These security measures keep your data safe and ensure payments are securely conducted.

Look for a License

Not every casino site has a license, but it’s worth checking to see what licensing agreements you might be signing up for. Many offshore sites available in KY are licensed in Panama, Curaçao, and Europe.

Demand Transparency

Kentucky players deserve the highest standards from their casino sites, and this means being upfront about complicated T&Cs. Look for sites that are transparent about their welcome offers, RTPs, software developers, and game rules. The more info you get, the better.

Seek Responsible Gambling Advice

Top online casinos go beyond what’s expected of them to provide extensive responsible gambling resources. We look for sites that impose player protections like deposit limits and timeouts. Sites that offer advice and links to problem gambling charities are also worth joining.

Assess Payment Options

Make sure you join a site that facilitates the deposit and withdrawal method you want to use. Most sites accept credit card payments but not withdrawals. So, take a look and find a site that works for you.

Pros & Cons of Gambling in Kentucky

Kentucky has a strange relationship with gambling. Residents have been able to bet on horse racing for well over 100 years, yet are unable to place $10 on red at a casino. Here are the pros and cons associated with gambling in KY:

Pros

  • Freedom to bet on horse racing and sports via numerous online sites
  • Slot-style HHR gambling available at racetracks across the state
  • Awareness from the state legislature that some players want a formally legalized online casino industry
  • Extensive Kentucky problem gambling resources
  • Access to offshore casino sites while in KY

Cons

  • No commercial or tribal casinos available in the state
  • Players in neighboring states enjoy greater gambling freedoms
  • The state is losing tax money by not regulating casino gambling

Future of Online Gambling in Kentucky: Our Prediction

Kentucky’s gambling industry is currently in suspension. The decision to pass online sports betting laws in 2023 and the crackdown of slots-style ‘gray machines’ means the industry is adjusting to a lot of change this year.

There are no current efforts in the 2024 legislative agenda to change the state’s gambling laws. So, from this point, it looks like we could be stuck with the status quo for some time.

However, a glimmer of hope for those who want a fully regulated online casino industry comes from Gov. Andy Beshear. In 2023 he spoke of legalizing casinos, saying: “It is wanted, desired, and demanded by the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and I hope we can get there in the next couple of years.”

It’s uncertain whether Beshear can persuade the state legislature to enact regulations for land-based or online casinos soon. The possibility of land-based options seems more feasible, with existing racetracks and simulcast facilities potentially applying for casino licenses.

Currently, only six states regulate their own online casino industries, and Kentucky is far from reaching this point.

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Kentucky Gambling FAQs

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Joe Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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