Kentucky Legal Sports Betting Overview
|KY Sports Betting Law Details||Status|
|📆 Retail Sports Betting Launch Date:||N/A|
|📆 Online Sports Betting Launch Date:||N/A|
|✅ Licensed Sportsbooks:||N/A|
|💵 Legal Wagering Options:||N/A|
|🔞 Legal Gambling Age in KY:||18+|
|🏈 Sports to Bet On:||N/A|
|🏦 Permitted Banking Options:||N/A|
|⚖️ Kentucky Gambling Regulator:||N/A|
Kentucky Sports Betting Summary
Kentucky sports betting is yet to get off the ground, with retail and online sportsbooks illegal in the state.
However, KY lawmakers and sports fans alike remain optimistic about betting being made legal in the foreseeable future. Representative Adam Koenig has spearheaded efforts to legalize sports betting, submitting a bill every year since 2019 to legalize wagering. The most recent effort, HB 606, managed to pass the House but didn’t make it through the Senate in April 2022. However, with Governor Andy Beshear a vocal supporter of sports betting, and Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer hopeful for the future, sports betting legislation may pass in 2023.
The most recent bill planned to legalize retail sports betting at the four operating horse tracks. However, the Kentucky Speedway was not included as a potential sportsbook location. Once online sports betting is legal in Kentucky, it will likely launch without requiring in-person registration, after the requirement was removed from HB 606.
Read our complete guide to Kentucky sports betting below. You’ll find the latest sports betting legislation and updates, legal wagering options in KY, and projections for the launch of legal sports betting in the Bluegrass State.
Kentucky Online Sportsbooks Summary
Online sports betting is not legal in Kentucky, but there is strong support for legalizing it in the state. Gov. Beshear has made numerous public declarations of his support for sports betting, and lawmakers like Rep. Koenig have committed to passing legislation for several years. HB 606 was the closest attempt yet, passing the House in March 2022. Given this progress, there is optimism that Kentucky will join the list of legal betting states in 2023.
Currently, you can place online horse racing bets in Kentucky through sites like Caesars Racebook, TVG, and TwinSpires. You can also visit five locations across the state and place pari-mutuel wagers. Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games are available, with operators like ESPN, Boom, Yahoo!, FantasyDraft, DraftKings, and FanDuel providing games.
Five of the seven states that border Kentucky have already legalized online sports betting: Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. You can travel to these states and bet legally anywhere within their borders using sportsbook apps like BetMGM, Caesars, and PointsBet. Illinois, Indiana, and West Virginia also offer retail sportsbooks where you can bet. Ohio, another neighboring state, is expected to launch legal sports betting by January 1, 2023.
You don’t have to be a resident of Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, or West Virginia to place legal bets. If you are old enough to gamble legally and present within state borders, you can set up your account and place your bets in minutes.
How to Place a Bet in Kentucky
While online sports betting isn’t legal in Kentucky, you can place wagers on horse racing online.
Read our step-by-step guide below to place your first legal bet on horse racing:
Research the horse races you want to bet on. You can increase your chances of placing winning wagers by looking at the horse's form, the weather, and expert tips.
Choose an online horse racing betting site like Caesars Racebook, TVG, or TwinSpires.
Visit your chosen site and register an account. Provide your name, address, date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
Find the site’s cashier section and select a payment method for making a deposit. Choose how much to deposit, ensuring you meet the terms required to access any welcome bonuses.
Browse the site’s horse racing markets and add a selection to your bet slip. Choose your stake and place the wager.
If your bet wins, return to the cashier section for instructions on withdrawing your winnings.
Banking Methods Available in Kentucky
There are a wide range of payment methods you can use with online horse racing betting sites, the most popular being Visa or Mastercard. You can also use e-wallets like PayPal or make wire transfers from your bank account. Online bank transfers are also available. Some online horse racing betting sites will let you use a PayNearMe card to deposit. You can top up your PayNearMe card at retailers like CVS and Walgreens.
Many of these payment methods will be available at online sportsbooks when Kentucky legalizes sports betting. You may also use prepaid cards like Play+, which partner with many top operators like BetMGM and Caesars.
Who is Eligible to Bet in KY?
The exact rules for sports betting in Kentucky will be confirmed once it’s legalized. However, they will probably reflect regulations for horse racing betting, including bettors needing to be at least 18 years old.
To use KY online sportsbooks, you will need to activate the geolocation services on your device to confirm you are within state borders. In addition, any individual who meets any of the criteria listed below is prohibited from betting on sports:
Athletes, coaches, or members of any professional sports and college teams.
Individuals with a stake in a sports team.
Individuals with the professional authority to influence players.
Referees for professional and college sports leagues.
Individuals with access to non-public information about a sports team (e.g., player medical records).
Individuals that have voluntarily excluded themselves from gambling activities.
Individuals prohibited from betting on a state or federal level (e.g., due to criminal history).
Latest Kentucky Sports Betting Updates
Current Sports Betting Status in Kentucky
Despite several attempts to legalize Kentucky sports betting, retail and online sportsbooks remain illegal in the Bluegrass State. The most recent effort made the most progress, with HB 606 passing the House but failing at the Senate level. The momentum gained in 2022 has led to sports betting advocates believing 2023 could be the year Kentucky sports betting is legalized.
Timeline for Sports Betting in Kentucky
April 15, 2022: HB 606 does not pass the Senate as no vote is held, and the bill is left to die by the end of the legislative session.
March 18, 2022: HB 606 passes the House by a vote of 58-30. In doing so, it becomes the first sports betting bill to pass the House after four years of trying.
February 28, 2022: Rep. Koenig introduces HB 606, his fourth attempt to legalize sports betting in Kentucky, to the House. This bill removes any legislation for Kentucky Speedway to offer sports betting and the requirement for in-person registration.
April 1, 2021: Gov. Beshear releases a program called “Governor Andy Beshear: First Year Reflections” in which he criticizes Kentucky for not legalizing sports betting and missing out on revenue.
February 23, 2021: Rep. Al Gentry brings HB 594 to the House. Like HB 531 and HB 241 before it, the bill is referred to the Committee on Committees and doesn’t pass.
February 22, 2021: Rep. Gentry introduces HB 531, a bill to legalize sports betting, to the House. The bill is referred to the Committee on Committees and dies.
January 9, 2021: Rep. Koenig introduces HB 241, a bill to legalize sports betting, to the House. This bill is referred to the Committee on Committees and doesn’t gain any support.
April 15, 2020: HB 137 does not pass through the House, and the legislative session ends.
January 16, 2020: HB 137 passes the Committee. However, Sen. Koenig changes the legislation, removing the ban on in-state college sports betting.
January 14, 2020: Kentucky Gov. Beshear supports sports betting in KY, saying: “Representative Adam Koenig has filed a sports betting bill. I fully support it, and we should pass it”.
January 7, 2020: HB 137, a bill to legalize sports betting, is introduced to the House. The bill is sent to the Licensing, Occupations, and Admin Regulations Committee.
April 15, 2019: HB 175 does not receive the 60% of votes it needs to pass in a non-budget year, and the legislative session ends.
April 2, 2019: Rep. Koenig introduces HB 175, a bill to legalize sports betting, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), and online poker, to the House.
June 18, 2018: Nine lawmakers join a panel to investigate the possibility of legalizing sports betting in Kentucky. Those lawmakers include Rep. Jason Nemes, Rep. John Sim, Rep. Diane St. Onge, Rep. Kim Moser, Rep. George Brown, Rep. Dean Schamore, Sen. Julie Raque Adams, Sen. Morgan McGarvey, and Sen. Julian Carroll.
May 14, 2018: The US Supreme Court overturns the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). Individual states are given the power to legalize sports betting.
September 20, 2017: Sen. Carroll introduces BR 155 to the Senate to legalize sports betting. The bill doesn’t gain much support.
Kentucky Sports Betting Background
Sports betting is not legal in Kentucky, but lawmakers were trying to pass legislation before the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA in 2018. Sen. Carroll introduced BR 155 to the House in September 2017 to give the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission power to oversee the sports betting industry. The bill called for a 20% tax on sportsbooks, but failed to gain traction.
Just a month after the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA, nine Kentucky lawmakers created a panel to research the viability of sports betting in the state. Sen. Koenig has been the driving force behind sports betting legalization, introducing bills in four consecutive years from 2019 to 2022. Gov. Beshear has also been a huge support of sports betting, saying Kentucky should have legalized sports betting “years and years and years ago” in his 2021 program.
Future of Kentucky Sports Betting
With Gov. Beshear a vocal supporter of Kentucky sports betting, lawmakers will likely put forward another bill in 2023. There is a reason for optimism that 2023 will be the year sports betting is legalized in Kentucky, as each bill from 2019 to 2022 has progressed slightly further. Senate Majority Leader Thayer is also optimistic about sports betting legalization in 2023, saying “advocates should be optimistic”.
Caesars recently launched an online racebook in Kentucky, which suggests it will launch its sportsbook in the Bluegrass State once wagering is legalized. DraftKings and FanDuel are other major US sportsbooks that will look to enter the market, as both operate popular Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games in KY.
Kentucky Sports Betting Locations
There are 11 land-based casinos in Kentucky, but none of these locations provide retail sports betting. While many sports betting bills have included plans to legalize retail sports betting, none have named land-based casinos as potential locations. HB 606, the bill which has progressed furthest, only included the state’s four horse racing tracks. It’s unlikely sportsbooks will launch at casinos when sports betting is legalized unless major changes are made to the wording of future bills.
You can visit neighboring Illinois, Indiana, or West Virginia if you want to place legal retail sports bets. You can visit all these states, as well as Tennessee and Virginia, to place online wagers.
Kentucky Lottery Locations
The Kentucky Lottery launched in 1989 after more than 60% of voters backed its legalization in November 1988. The state lottery is overseen by the Kentucky Lottery Commission, which has been put forward as a potential regulatory body for sports betting in KY. However, no plans have been announced for lottery retailers to offer sports betting.
Off-Track and Stadium Betting Locations
Sports betting is not legal in Kentucky, so there are no retail sportsbooks at stadiums or sports venues. The most recent sports betting bill included provisions for the four operational horse racing tracks to open retail sportsbooks.
Pari-mutuel betting has been legal since 1906 when the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission was created. There are four racetracks in KY, including the US’ most famous racetrack, Churchill Downs, which hosts the biggest race in the US, the Kentucky Derby, every year. Churchill Downs also launched its own sportsbook, TwinSpires, although this is due to shut down in 2022.
You can place pari-mutuel wagers at all four racetracks and one OTB location. Turfway Park is opening under the ownership of Churchill Downs Incorporated in September 2022 and will likely open a pari-mutuel betting facility.
|Churchill Downs||700 Central Avenue, Louisville, KY 40208||(502) 636-4400|
|Ellis Park||3300 U.S. Highway 41 N., Henderson, KY 42420||(812) 425-1456|
|The Mint Gaming Hall at Bowling Green||2475 Scottsville Road, Suite 101 & 102, Bowling Green, KY 42104||(270) 353-6400|
|The Mint Gaming Hall at Kentucky Downs||5629 Nashville Road, Franklin, KY 42134||(270) 586-7778|
|Winners’ Club at The Red Mile||1200 Red Mile Road, Lexington, KY 40504||(859) 255-0752|
Kentucky Responsible Gambling Resources
National Council on Problem Gambling Kentucky – Directs people to local problem gambling support resources and national support like a helpline and live chat. (800) 522-4700
Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling – Offers resources to learn about gambling addiction and provides support and guidance on how to treat it. (800) 426-2537
Gamblers Anonymous – Provides anonymous meetings across Kentucky where problem gamblers can go and share their experience. It also organizes a treatment program. (855) 222-5542
The Kentucky Lottery offers individuals experiencing problem gambling an option to self-exclude themselves from online games. If the state lottery were to regulate sports betting in the state, it would likely bring in similar measures. No matter what the regulatory body is, it’s expected Kentucky sportsbooks will need to meet high standards for problem gambling support. This includes offering account tools like deposit limits and guidance to helpful resources.
Teams to Bet on in Kentucky
There are no major league professional sports teams in Kentucky, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t elite-level sport taking place in the state. The most famous horse race in the US, the Kentucky Derby, takes place in May each year at Churchill Downs. In addition, the Kentucky Speedway hosted NASCAR events from 2012-2020 and, previously, the IndyCar Indy 300.
Many Kentucky-based sports fans choose to support teams in the five nearby states that are home to major league franchises. Check out the most popular teams in neighboring states below:
|Chicago Bears (NFL)||Indianapolis Colts (NFL)||Kansas City Chiefs (NFL)||Cincinnati Bengals (NFL)||Tennessee Titans (NFL)|
|Chicago Bulls (NBA)||Indiana Pacers (NBA)||Kansas City Royals (MLB)||Cleveland Browns (NFL)||Memphis Grizzlies (NBA)|
|Chicago Cubs (MLB)||St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)||Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)||Nashville Predators (NHL)|
|Chicago White Sox (MLB)||St. Louis Blues (NHL)||Cincinnati Reds (MLB)|
|Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)||Cleveland Guardians (MLB)|
|Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)|
Minor League Sports
Kentucky-based baseball fans can get behind the Louisville Bats, a Triple-A affiliate of the MLB’s Cincinnati Reds since 2000. A Triple-A affiliate since 1982, the Bats have previously been affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers. Home games are played at Louisville Slugger Field, boasting a capacity of over 13,000.
For fans of America’s Favorite Pastime, the Bowling Green Hot Rods are another option to follow. A High-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Hot Rods play baseball in the South Atlantic League South Division. Playing at the 4,500-seater Bowling Green Ballpark, the Hot Rods have had recent successes, winning league titles in 2018 and 2021.
Bellarmine Knights: The Knights represent Bellarmine University in the ASUN Conference. They began transitioning to a Division I college in 2020, joining ASUN from the Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Knights’ greatest sporting success was winning the NCAA Men’s Division II Basketball Tournament.
Eastern Kentucky Colonels: Eastern Kentucky University is represented by the Colonels in the ASUN Conference. Their football team has been traditionally strong, winning 20 Ohio Valley Conference titles before moving to ASUN. Football games are played at the 20,000-seater Roy Kidd Stadium, named after the Colonels’ head football coach from 1964-2002.
Kentucky Wildcats: The Wildcats are the pride of the University of Kentucky. A founding member of the Southeastern Conference, the Wildcats are one of the top college basketball programs in the US. They are an eight-time winner of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Division I Tournament, and, in 2009, the program became the first to reach 2000 wins.
Louisville Cardinals: Competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 21 varsity teams, the University of Louisville Cardinals have a fierce rivalry with the Kentucky Wildcats. The Cardinals lead in football matchups 15-11 since the schools renewed rivalries in 1994. The school won its first Heisman Trophy in 2016 when Lamar Jackson, who was drafted by the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens in 2018, took home the crown.
Morehead State Eagles: The Eagles represent Morehead State University in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Eagles have had some successes in men’s basketball, making the NCAA Division I Tournament three times in the 2000s. The football team boasts Phil Simms, Super Bowl XXI MVP and CBS commentator, among its alumni.
Murray State Racers: The Murray State University Racers compete in the Missouri Valley Conference for all sports except football and rifle, in which they compete in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Racers’ only National Championship came in rifle, and the program has produced six Olympians including gold medal winner Pat Spurgin. The Racers have two mascots, a live racehorse called Racer-One, and a costume horse mascot named Dunker.
Northern Kentucky Norse: The Norse represent Northern Kentucky University in the Horizon League. Sponsoring 17 varsity teams, the most successful program in the school’s history has been women’s basketball. The Norse won the NCAA Women’s Basketball Division II Championship in 2000 and 2008. The Norse have also won a Men’s Division II Soccer National Championship.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers: Western Kentucky University’s Hilltoppers play games in Conference USA. The Hilltoppers are best known for their basketball prowess, making the NCAA Division I tournament 23 times. The women’s basketball team has also had some success, making the NCAA tournament 20 times, including a runner-up result in 1992.
Racing Louisville FC: Playing in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), Racing Louisville joined as an expansion franchise in 2019. The team plays at the Lynn Family Stadium with a capacity of 15,304, which it shares with the USL Championship’s Louisville City FC.
How Does Kentucky Compare to Other States?
When sports betting is legalized and launched in Kentucky, some of the biggest operators in the US are expected to launch too.
This includes BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet. Brands like Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel already have a presence in the state through racebooks and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), and are the most likely to go live in KY.
Every sportsbook will offer markets on major league sports, including the NFL and NBA, and a variety of niche professional sports like MMA and European soccer. College sports betting would also be available if the regulations of HB 606 are followed.
Competitive Odds & Prices
Most top US sportsbooks that are expected to launch in Kentucky provide the same betting odds in every state. So you’ll get the same betting lines in Kentucky as in New York and other legal betting states. These sportsbooks have to provide generous odds to compete in states with many licensed sportsbooks like Colorado, which is home to 26 different operators. For example, DraftKings partners with NASCAR team 23XI and provides excellent odds on NASCAR races.
Sen. Koening estimated in 2019 that Kentucky was missing an extra $22.5 million a year from sports betting tax. For comparison, Colorado brought in $13.4 million in taxes from June 2021 to May 2022. However, considering Colorado’s population (nearly 6m) is higher than Kentucky’s (around 4.5), and CO has four major sports teams, it seems unlikely Kentucky would bring in more tax.
Colorado may get more visiting bettors as it borders states with no online sports betting like New Mexico and Nebraska. Five states with online sports betting neighbor Kentucky. Kentucky’s proposed mobile sportsbook tax rate (14.25%) is higher than Colorado’s (10%) but not significant enough to bring in $22.5 million in taxes.
While Sen. Koenig’s estimates may have been optimistic, the Bluegrass State is definitely missing out on sports betting revenue. GeoComply, a company that operates the geolocation services for many top sportsbooks, released stats showing more than 500,000 people tried to wager in Kentucky in March. There is an obvious demand for sports betting in KY, and a sports betting bill would turn that demand into taxes for the state.
All sports bettors in the US have to pay tax on gambling winnings. Sports betting winnings must be declared to the IRS, and if you win over $600, you must complete a W-2G form. You can deduct your gambling losses from your gambling winnings. Sportsbooks can withhold up to 25% from gambling winnings. You also need to include your gambling winnings in your state income tax, which is a flat rate of 5% for everyone in Kentucky.
Sportsbooks must also follow the Internal Revenue Code and pay a 0.25% excise tax on every monthly betting handle. Additionally, every employee involved in taking wagers requires a payment of $50.
Who Oversees Sports Betting in Kentucky?
There is no formal sports betting regulator in Kentucky because wagering is not legal. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission oversees pari-mutuel betting. HB 606 proposed plans for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to regulate sports betting in KY.
However, other legislation has suggested the Kentucky Lottery Commission as the sports betting regulator. The chosen regulatory body would be responsible for licensing sportsbooks, including testing each site to ensure it’s safe and secure. The regulatory body would also be responsible for new sports betting legislation and collecting taxes from sportsbooks.
- Is betting legal in Kentucky?
No, sports betting is not legal in Kentucky. There have been several attempts to legalize sports betting, including HB 606, which passed the House in March 2022 but fell short at the Senate. However, sports betting won’t be legalized until 2023 at the earliest.
- Who governs sports betting in Kentucky?
There is no sports betting in Kentucky, so there’s no set regulatory body. However, the Kentucky Lottery Commission was suggested to be the regulator in the most recent and furthest-progressing sports betting bill.
- How old do you have to be to bet in Kentucky?
The expected legal sports betting age in Kentucky is 18 to line up with the online horse racing betting industry. However, this is subject to change until legislation passes.
- When will sports betting launch in Kentucky?
There will be another attempt to legalize Kentucky sports betting in 2023. If a new bill passes, it must do so before the legislative session ends on April 15, 2023. If sports wagering legislation passes in 2023, sports betting could launch in late 2023 or 2024.
- Where will I be able to bet on sports in Kentucky?
When sports betting is legalized in Kentucky, online sports bettors will be able to wager anywhere in the state. It’s also expected retail sportsbooks will be able to open at the state’s horse racing tracks.
- Are sportsbooks in Kentucky safe?
Kentucky has no legal sportsbooks, so any betting site offering you wagering in KY is unsafe. Even if these sites are regulated in other countries, there are no guarantees you will receive your payouts or bonuses.
- Would I have to pay taxes on betting winnings in Kentucky?
All bettors need to declare gambling winnings to the IRS. If you win more than $600 while betting, you must complete a W-2G form. You would also need to include your betting winnings when paying your state income tax if sports betting was legal in Kentucky.
- Can you play DraftKings in Kentucky?
No, DraftKings sportsbook is not available in Kentucky because sports betting is illegal. However, you can play DraftKings’ Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games for the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL in KY.
- Can you play FanDuel in Kentucky?
You can’t legally use FanDuel’s sportsbook in Kentucky, but you can play their Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games. You can also travel to Kentucky’s neighboring Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia use the betting site legally.
- Can you play BetMGM in Kentucky?
No, it is not legal to bet with BetMGM in Kentucky. The sportsbook is available if you travel over the border into either Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, or West Virginia.
- Can you play Caesars in Kentucky?
No, you can’t use Caesars sportsbook in Kentucky. However, Caesars launched a racebook in KY in July 2019 to allow bettors to wager on horse racing online.
- Can you play TwinSpires in Kentucky?
No, TwinSpires sportsbook is not available in Kentucky. While TwinSpires sportsbook is shutting down, you can use its online racebook to wager on horse racing in KY.
- Which sportsbooks will be available in Kentucky in the future?
When sports betting launches in Kentucky, it’s likely the biggest operators in the US will launch online. This includes brands like Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel, which already operate online horse racing betting and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games in KY.