Kentucky Gambling Laws

Kentucky is one of those states without rhyme nor reason to its gambling laws. In some ways, the state is quite liberal with Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), the state lottery and horse racing betting all available online and charitable gaming is open for easy access.

On the other hand, missing for gambling aficionados in Kentucky is legal access to traditional casino gambling, or even Tribal Casinos. Kentucky residents are required to travel to nearby states to get their fix of poker, casino table games, slot machines, and other casino game favorites.

Legality of Sports Betting VS Gambling

Beset by paradox, Kentucky allows for horse racing, a great state lottery (including even an online version) and DFS. Casino gambling, poker and sports betting are all still out of bounds for residents and visitors to the state of Kentucky.

Sports & Gambling Type
Legal Land-Based
Legal Online
Sports Betting
No
No
Casinos
No
No
Fantasy Sports (DFS)
N/A
Yes
eSports
No
No
Poker
No
No
Horse-Racing
Yes
Yes
Lottery
Yes
Yes
Charitable-Gambling
Yes
No

Kentucky Sports Betting Tax Rates

Kentucky has a 5% state tax on gambling winnings.

Large gambling wins over $600 in the Bluegrass State may possibly attract an additional Federal Tax.

Contact your tax attorney to assess your potential Federal tax liability if you have a big win in Kentucky.

Sports betting Age VS Gambling Age in Kentucky

Kentucky has an across-the-board legal gambling age limit of 18 years-of-age for all legal forms of gambling available in the state.

Sports & Gambling Type
Age
Sports Betting
N/A
DFS
18
Casinos
N/A
Horse-Racing
18
Lottery
18
Charitable-Gambling
18

Kentucky Sports Betting Laws

Gambling laws in Kentucky do not yet extend to legal sports betting, however, its apparent that the state’s legislators have taken it upon themselves to change that since sports betting became legal in the USA in May of 2018.

As in many other states, sports betting taxes appear to be the major hurdle for Kentucky’s lawmakers to overcome before the sports betting legalization can occur.

In the twin state government bills of late 2017/early 2018, BR 155 and House Bill 536 have both sought Kentucky gambling laws to allow sports betting, a $250,000 licensing fee for operators, appoint the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission as the government agency in charge of regulating sports betting and set up a 20% tax on the betting handle.

However, given that a gambling friendly state like Nevada has 5% tax for operators or New Jersey who has a 13% tax on Operators, state legislators have wisely foreseen that a 20% state will make it impossible for any operator (state-backed or otherwise) to turn a profit.

While both bills have been seen by gambling industry experts to be a little naïve, it seems like the Kentucky State Legislature have at least begun the conversation and are committed to passing a bill in the near future by which the state can control and profit from legalized sports betting.

Kentucky Online Sports Betting Laws

Online Sports Betting is currently illegal in the state of Kentucky and nor does it appear that Kentucky will embrace liberal online casino laws anytime soon.

Back in 2008, Kentucky seized more than 140 poker and gambling domain names without notice. Kentucky remarked that the sites in question accepted bets from players within its state lines in total disregard of Kentucky state law.

Conversely, the state of Kentucky accepts some forms of online gambling as legal. Online DFS and the online state lottery and horse and greyhound racing online betting options are completely legal for Kentucky’s residents-and-visitors.

Any desire to change the current state-of-affairs on legal Kentucky online sports betting and online gambling as a whole could change, once legislators potentially hand the issue of legal sports betting onto to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for administration and implementation.

As the issue unfolds and legal online gambling may potentially become available in Kentucky soon, we’ll keep you up-to-date.

Online Fantasy Sports in Kentucky

Federal lawmakers in their wisdom have decided that Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) competitions are skill-based events, not gambling on a game that is determined by random chance. Much like sports betting, each state is permitted under Federal law to decide their own position on the legality of DFS competitions.

Major DFS sites operate in Kentucky (legally accepting players from the Bluegrass State) due to the prevailing interpretation of Kentucky gambling law being favorable to DFS. The next step for Kentucky’s legislators is to achieve concrete legal clarity with the passage of DFS legislation.

Kentucky’s Lawmakers attempted to do exactly that with Bill HB 414 introduced in February of 2017. Although the bill was ultimately unsuccessful, it was only 3 votes shy of the required number to pass the DFS legalization bill into law. Consequently, it appears that DFS legalization is only a matter of legislative months and just a few votes away.

Until then, DFS sites are still accepting players from Kentucky under the implicit legal understanding that the games are not officially considered illegal and DFS continues unabated in the Bluegrass State meanwhile.

Esports Online Betting Laws

Legal eSports betting in Kentucky may well establish new betting markets for the state’s residents and visitors with a brash new style of sports betting (once legalized and regulated), undamaged by a previous embargoed past.

The ‘eSports’ Phenomenon Explained

Professional-level video game play at the highest level (i.e. eSports) has transformed into a global betting phenomenon. An ever-increasing number of international sportsbooks now offer competitive betting markets across all the major network of global eSports tournaments, as eSports betting grows quickly worldwide on the back of the vast improvements of live video streaming technology.

eSports are frequently played in a team-format in worldwide tournaments, and like the same way that football, baseball, basketball and hockey are different types of sports; Dota 2, StarCraft, Call of Duty, FIFA 18 and Overwatch, are the NFL, NHL, MLB, College Football and NBA sports of the eSports world.

Upon the legalization of sports betting in Kentucky, we anticipate that eSports betting will be in the first collection of new betting types available.

Horse Racing in Kentucky

Horse Racing in Kentucky boasts a rich heritage and the sports continues to be one of the state’s most revenue-rich generating industries. Home of the world-renown Kentucky Derby, the big race and all other Kentucky horse racing is administered by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Kentucky’s residents and visitors have legal horse racing betting options through online horse racing betting sites, track side and off-track betting facilities.

Trackside Betting

Kentucky has 7 thoroughbred (including the famous Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs racetrack) and standardbred horse racing tracks as well as numerous county fair tracks that each host an annual race day.

Off Track Betting (OTB) in Kentucky

The State of Kentucky has network of 6 off-track betting locations where bets can be placed on all races in Kentucky and nationwide.

Online Horse Racing in Kentucky

Online racebooks available to Kentucky residents all have minimal initial deposit requirements and provide online wagering convenience easily from your PC, smartphone, tablet or other mobile device. Visitors or residents of Kentucky over the age of 18 have 100% legal access to online horse betting sites offering betting options on all the big races in Kentucky, nationwide in the U.S. and major worldwide racing events.

Visit our page on Kentucky’s online casinos and gambling laws for reviews of the states best online casinos

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