Right now sports betting is not legal in Kentucky, regardless of whether it’s live or in a land-based casino. The good news is that all signs point to legal sports betting arriving in the Bluegrass State sooner rather than later. When legalization does arrive, all major North American sports and of course major international leagues will be open for wagering including NFL, NBA, NHL and Golf. What’s legal right now in Kentucky includes online horse racing betting, fantasy sports, skill games and online lottery games. Some forms of internet betting that are legal at the federal level are also legal in Kentucky.
Gambling Laws in Kentucky
Kentucky’s gambling laws only allow some betting on horse racing. There are currently no full-fledged casinos in Kentucky, and only charitable games are permitted, something we discussed in greater detail on our dedicated Kentucky gambling page. According to current laws, horse running, trotting and pacing races; harness races; off-track interstate wagering are legal. Pari-mutuel betting is allowed through wagering only. Sports fans can seek some gambling action through online fantasy sports. Kentucky also allows its residents to gamble on games of skill. Popular interactive puzzle games like Wheel of Fortune and Scrabble Blocks are available on online platforms that pay real cash prizes and jackpots. However land based casinos and gambling establishments are illegal. With respect to other kinds of gambling activity, bookmaking; organizing or promoting gambling; possessing gambling records and devices are currently banned.
- We use trusted sources such as US Bets to gather any relevant industry news.
- We aren’t just experts in sports betting, we have dedicated teams across the gambling sector including for casino games such as slots and have created an online roulette guide.
- We keep on top of any changes to the law by closely following the movements of the Business First Journal in Kentucky.
Most Popular Sports in Kentucky
Sports in Kentucky include amateur and professional sports in baseball, football, horse racing, horse shows, ice hockey, soccer and lacrosse. The city of Louisville in Kentucky and the Louisville metropolitan city are major sports hosting areas that have a sporting history from the mid-19th century to the present day. Louisville is also now home to five minor-league professional and semi-professional sports teams. Despite the national stereotype that Kentucky is a diehard basketball state, at the high school level the state frequently produces more top nationally ranked football players than basketball players. In the past ten years the state has produced many players ranked among the top 20 in their position, notably Tim Couch, Chris Redman, Dennis Johnson, Eric Shelton, Michael Bush, Brian Brohm, Mario Urrutia, Earl Heyman, André Woodson, Micah Johnson, and DeVante Parker. An increasingly growing number of top baseball talent is also coming from Kentucky, such as Brandon Webb, Austin Kearns, and Paul Byrd.
Minor League Baseball – Louisville Bats
The Louisville Bats are a professional Minor League Baseball team based in Louisville, Kentucky. They play in the International League as the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The Louisville Bats are well known for their record hits and popularity across the nation. They have once won the Governors’ Cup—the championship of the IL—and twice played in the championship series. Furthermore although traditionally one of the top-drawing minor league teams, the Bats’ attendance in 2011 was second of all minor league teams with an average of 8,716 per game. It is no wonder then that in 2016, Forbes listed the Bats as the 11th-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $36 million.
United Soccer League – Louisville City Football Club
Based out of Louisville, the Louisville City Football Club is an American professional soccer club. The club was founded in 2014 after Orlando City’s USL team franchise rights were relocated to Louisville and the team played their first USL season in 2015. The team has shown consistent remarkable progress. After reaching the Eastern Conference finals of the USL playoffs in both its first two seasons, the club went on to win the 2017 USL Cup in only its third season of existence. In 2018, they repeated as champions, becoming the first team to win back-to-back USL Cup championships. The team has one of the most outstanding loyal base: a group of soccer fan support group in Louisville called the Coopers. The Coopers build support for professional soccer by mobilizing public support, meeting with potential local ownership groups and laying foundations for the buildup of a professional soccer team Louisville
Women Football Alliance – Derby City Dynamite
The Derby City Dynamite is an expansion team of the Women’s Football Alliance that began play in 2012. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, the Dynamite’s home venue is John Hardin High School in Elizabethtown. They are Kentucky’s Only Women’s Tackle Football Team and are popularly credited with changing the female stereotype “one snap at a time” in the region. Although relatively new and upcoming, the team is steadily creating a popular fan base and recruiting young women from rural parts of Kentucky to be represented in professional sports. With a major focus on women empowerment, minority representation and changing stereotypes- this team is a must see for visitors!
American Basketball Association – East Kentucky Miners
Founded in 2007 and based in Pikeville Kentucky, the East Kentucky Miners are a professional basketball team in the American Basketball Association that began play as a member of the Continental Basketball Association in the 2007-2008 season. Loved by all, they are a state favorite! The team has exhibited consistent progress in their plays, keeping up with true Kentucky pride! During the 2007-2008 season the East Kentucky Miners scored 194 points in a game, a CBA record. They finished the Season with a 26-22 record and led the CBA in scoring averaging almost 111 points a game.
History of Sports Betting in Kentucky
Kentucky has a long history of sports gambling not only on thoroughbred racing but game betting as well. In 1875, the Kentucky Derby was founded and Kentucky became a major center for horse racing and pari-mutuel betting. In 1988, the state lottery was introduced and in 1992, additional legislations were passed to allow charity bingo, raffles and pull tabs. In 2017, State Senator Julian Carroll introduced a sports betting bill that would allow the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to regulate and oversee a sports gambling industry. In 2018 PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) that effectively banned sports betting everywhere in the United States) was repealed and Kentucky takes first steps towards legal sports betting bill.
|1875||Kentucky Derby was founded and Kentucky became a major center for horse racing and pari-mutuel betting.|
|1988||State lottery was introduced in Kentucky|
|1992||Additional legislations were passed to allow charity bingo, raffles and pull tabs|
|2017||State Senator Julian Carroll introduced a sports betting bill that would allow the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to regulate and oversee a sports gambling industry|
|2018||PAPSA is repealed and Kentucky takes first steps towards a legal sports betting bill|
Legal Online Sports Betting Age in Kentucky
The primary form of gambling in the state of Kentucky is that of horse racing. In order to bet on horse races, you will have to be at least 18 years of age. This will also give you access to the pull tabs, bingo games, and the lottery. Since there are no real poker rooms or casinos in the state, the minimum Kentucky legal gambling ages for these types of betting are 21 years of age. This is pertinent due to the number of online casinos and poker rooms that are open to Kentucky residents.
Sports Betting AgeFor horse race betting, you will have to be at least 18 years of age. For poker rooms and casinos you have to be 21 years of age.
Alcohol AgeThe legal drinking age is 21 in Kentucky.
Marijuana AgeMarijuana is not legal in Kentucky in any form. An attempt to legalize a certain type of medical marijuana oil was vetoed in early 2019.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal Outside of the State?
Kentucky does not authorize, permit, or regulate any offshore sites when it comes to gambling. Since there are no provisions within Kentucky state gambling laws or US federal sports betting laws that prohibit residents from betting on sports online through legally sanctioned offshore sportsbooks, we’d have to say that yes, online sports betting at offshore sportsbooks is a legal form of betting entertainment for individuals in Kentucky. Although Kentucky does not allow residents to partake in traditional sports gambling, the state authorizes online fantasy sports betting. The reason being that the popular sports gambling alternative has been federally legal since 2006. Take a look at what the neighboring states have in stock, such as with Tennessee Sports Betting.
Taxes on Your Winnings: Do You Have to Pay Anything?
The newly proposed Kentucky sports betting bill, if passed would establish a tax rate of 20 percent on the total amount wagered, or handled. However, a new tax law in Kentucky does not allow gambling losses to be deducted from gambling winnings reported as taxable income. But luckily for betting fans, Damon Thayer, a Georgetown Republican, said he’s working on an amendment to be added to tax bill (House Bill 354) that would allow gambling losses to be deducted against winnings so horse players pay taxes on net income, not the gross.
Upcoming Regulation Changes in Kentucky Sports Betting Law
Currently a group of state lawmakers is close to finalizing a Kentucky sports betting bill (House Bill 354), which they plan to pre-file prior to the start of next year’s legislative session. The bill is proposed to expand the legalization of sports betting and is proposed to include mobile and online wagering, as well as betting at brick-and-mortar facilities. Much like Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Ohio, the state plans on revisiting the issue with the legalization of sports betting in Kentucky following the November midterm election. However, right now, it’s unclear whether policymakers from Kentucky’s rural areas will come onboard with the gambling expansion bill. It is proposed that if the bill passes, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) would regulate and oversee the sports betting industry according to the bill drafted by State Senator Julian Carroll. Similarly, the House bill H 536 calls for the state’s lottery commission to regulate the betting industry more broadly. So sports enthusiasts, stay tuned for some good news!