Kentucky Gambling Information

FAQ / Q&A -- History -- Regulation -- Land Based Casinos -- Fun Facts


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Kentucky Online Casinos

The best online casino option for players in Kentucky is to play a social casino, like Vegas World. This casino is 100% legal in all regions, and is great fun, with daily competitions and tournaments.

The current approach to online gambling in the State of Kentucky is inappropriate at the least. Antiquated laws offer no mention of gambling over the internet, and everything falls under the realm of interpretation. In recent years, gambling has been a hot topic in Kentucky, especially around the time of the PokerStars debacle, and the entire online poker sites affair.

In 2008, the state initiated a lawsuit in an attempt to seize 141 domain names, including major brands like PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.

PokerStars was sued for $290 million for accepting players from the Bluegrass State. The case is still ongoing; PokerStars has changed owners in the meantime and has appealed the lawsuit. It was the first time for a state to bring legal action against online gambling providers. The players, interestingly, were completely left out.


Regulation and legality of online gambling

Online gambling is not legal in the state of Kentucky. Currently, not even land-based casinos exist within state lines.

While Senators and Governors from Kentucky were mostly conservatives, citizens recently started feeling the effects of their local government not looking for additional ways to boost the economy.

This coincided with the election of Gov. Andy Beshear (D), who committed to creating new ways for the state to grow richer. As a part of his ‘boost package’ was a groundbreaking bill that would legalize DFS, sports betting, and online poker.

Even though online casinos haven’t been included in this revolutionary bill, it’s still possible that Beshear and the state’s legislators will notice the potential in having a strong online gambling industry.

Today, you can bet at any casino site, as long as it allows players from Kentucky. Even if you find yourself in such a situation.



Gambling history in Kentucky

While some states are more inclined towards lottery and have a long history with lottery gambling, in the case of Kentucky it is horse racing. Most influential in the Bluegrass State, the horse racing industry traces its roots way back into the late 1700’s. The first horse race in the entire US was held in Kentucky in 1783, so it comes as no surprise that the Bluegrass State is considered the epicenter of thoroughbred breeding and racing. Early lottery activities were often corrupt, so the Kentucky constitution introduced anti-gambling wording to stop them. The world’s best known and most prestigious racing competition - the Kentucky Derby - is being hosted in Kentucky since 1875.

Years and years would pass until the State of Kentucky finally opened for other forms of betting, namely the state-regulated lottery. The Kentucky gaming market extended beyond betting on horse races when the lottery act was passed in 1988. Some years later, charitable gambling was approved, but nothing in the field of brick and mortar casinos. Regrettably, that is the situation that still describes the state of casino gambling in Kentucky. Several racetrack casinos offer specific forms of casino gambling, but that is hardly in the traditional casino spirit. We can’t say that Kentucky doesn’t have any casinos for the lack of trying - there were attempts to legalize and regulate casino gambling in 2010 and 2012, but the Congress’ resistance proved that amount of revenue the state already earned from horse race betting was large enough.


Land based casinos

Among all the horse owners, breeders and trainers, it has been complicated to introduce any other format of gambling in Kentucky. The state lottery sells scratch-off and lotto tickets at designated venues (more than 1,000 lottery retailers) and the six racetracks in the state offer betting on horse races (off-track betting as well). Three locations out of six also include a controversial type of gambling machines - instant betting or instant racing machines, which aren’t slots, but they do look and feel like slots. To keep them away from legislation issues, the three venues (Kentucky Downs, Ellis Park, and Red Mile) like to describe them as ‘historical racing machines’, since they let bettors to wager on thousands of past horse races.

Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city, is the home to the Kentucky Derby which is always run on the first Sunday in May. Of course, there are races being held all year round, as the Churchill Downs has both a turf track and the main track. The venue opened in 1883 and is still incredibly popular, being one of the loveliest destinations for people to observe and bet on horse races. Kentucky Downs in Franklin houses 500 instant racing machines, while The Red Mile in Lexington offers 900 of those. The proximity of Ohio and Indiana allow Kentucky residents to experience brick and mortar casino action complete with actual slots and table games.

Neighbouring States: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia



At what age can you legally gamble online in Kentucky?

21. When it comes to the legal gambling limit in Kentucky, it’s a major debate point amongst players and industry experts alike. In articles pertaining to ‘grey area’ states, we usually look to use land-based casinos and their limit as a reference. Since the two activities are always legally equal when both legal, it’s a good way to navigate the loopholes in the law while still not getting in trouble.

Kentucky is a tricky example, as there are no other land-based casinos in the state. The only legal forms of gambling, in fact, are lottery games and pari-mutuel betting on horse races. Both of these activities are open to anyone 18 and above.

Even though 18 is the closest and only available reference, we would still advise anyone under 21 to restrain themselves from gambling. Rarely do states allow 18-year-olds to play at online casinos. This would be especially true for a state as conservative as Kentucky.

What types of games are available at Kentucky online casinos?

You can play any game you want at Kentucky of online casinos. That’s one of the advantages of online gambling in a state without clearly defined laws about the whole industry. You have access to any and all sites that don’t explicitly restrict the US and/or Kentucky as a specific state.

Therefore, you can play anywhere and try out games from different software providers. The current most popular ones are blackjack, roulette, and progressive jackpots.

You will find sites that focus on one game or one provider, as well as more versatile sites with thousands upon thousands of different titles. Make sure you pick a safe and licensed online casino before focusing on the games themselves.

Can you play live dealer games at casino sites in Kentucky?

Yes, live dealer games are very popular with players in Kentucky. This is because they combine elements of RNG-based or real-life table games with an easy and accessible way to partake in the activity.

Since citizens of the Bluegrass state don’t have any casinos near them, this is the most authentic way of having that iconic feel. Pick only the best live casino providers and don’t be afraid to experiment with some wacky titles.

Which payment methods can you use in Kentucky at online casinos?

Kentucky casino sites offer all the popular payment methods used across the US. Every website you encounter will offer VISA, MasterCard, and American Express. These card providers are used by half the world and they provide players with an easy and straightforward way to make transactions.

In recent years, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dash, and Litecoin have gained a cult following because of the security features embedded in the currencies’ infrastructure. It’s a great way to stay anonymous, too.

However, eWallets are by far the most popular payment platforms. PayPal has ruled fintech for more than two decades, while Skrill and Neteller have also grown into viable options.

Wire transfers are available too, but most consider them outdated due to security issues and long waiting times.

How fast do Kentucky casino sites pay players their withdrawals?

How quickly online casinos in Kentucky pay you depends on the payment method you’re using. Barring any irregular security policies, here’s how it goes:

Wire transfers (5-7 days)

Credit/debit cards (5-7 days)

eWallets (Instantly)

Cryptocurrencies (15-60 minutes)

Fun Facts about Kentucky

  • Abraham Lincoln, President of the Union, was born in Kentucky. Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, was also born in Kentucky. In fact, they were born less than one hundred miles (Hodgenville and Fairview) and one year apart.
  • Louisville in Kentucky was the place where the public saw an electric light for the first time. The incandescent light bulb was shown to crowds at the Southern Exposition by Thomas Edison in 1883. He worked for two years as a telegraph operator in Louisville’s Western Union office, got fired in 1867 and returned over a decade later to present 4600 of his incandescent bulbs.
  • Patty Hill, a teacher at the Louisville Experimental Kindergarten School, and her sister Mildred wrote a song called “Good Morning to All”. It was supposed to be a song for teachers to sing to their students as a greeting. The song was changed into “Happy Birthday to You” now the most recognizable song in the English language.

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