Kentucky has some of the most strict laws regarding gambling in the United States. There are no casinos in the state of Kentucky and several bills to try and legalize sports betting have failed.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned on May 14, 2018, allowing each state in the country to propose and create their own laws and regulations for sports betting.
Even pre-pandemic though, Kentucky was looking for ways to increase revenue in the state and a sports betting bill, bill H 137, to legalize sports betting, online poker, and daily fantasy sports was introduced but failed to gain approval.
Placing wagers on horse races is very popular in Kentucky and there are multiple horse racing tracks across the country with pari-mutuel wagering. Twin Spires is run by Churchill Downs and allows Kentuckians to bet the races at the track or from their home. But outside of horse racing and the state lottery, you’re basically out of luck if you’re hoping to gamble in Kentucky.
Luckily for Kentucky residents, five of the seven states that border the Bluegrass State offer various forms of legalized sports betting.
When Will Online Sports Betting Be Legal in Kentucky?
2019 saw several bills created, some of which called for the removal of the ban on betting on Kentucky-based college teams if sports betting was to be legalized. They also featured legalizing both brick-and-mortar and online casinos to operate at horse tracks and motorsports speedways.
Due to some pushback from Republicans in 2020 and a rule that says bills must get 60-percent approval in odd years, legal sports betting in Kentucky may still be at least a couple years away.
Kentucky’s Governor Andy Beshear is in favor of sports betting and H 137 introduced in early 2020 looked to have positive sentiment behind it. However, Republicans in the Family Foundation of Kentucky were not in favor of the bill and no further bills are currently active in 2020.
Every other year, in “odd” years, new bills are required to gain 60-percent approval to pass, which was not the case in 2020. Odd years also have shorter legislation sessions of only 30 days to discuss new bills.
While further bills may in fact gain that much support, it is an additional step to consider when forecasting when Kentucky will get legalized sports betting.
Kentucky is not a state with many major sports teams and instead college sports are very popular in the Bluegrass State. Kentucky does host the largest horse racing event in the world though in May of each year in the Kentucky Derby. Additional state revenue could certainly be gained from the event should legal sports betting one day become a reality.
Kentucky Sports Betting FAQs
Is sports betting legal in Kentucky?
At this time sports betting is illegal in the state of Kentucky.
Does Kentucky have casinos?
Kentucky has a total of six racing tracks across the state. These are used for horse racing and not other forms of gambling. Louisville’s Churchill Downs hosts the most popular race of the year in the Kentucky Derby.
What is the legal gambling age in Kentucky?
The minimum age to gamble in Kentucky is 18 years for all legal forms of gambling, including lottery and racing bets.