Upcoming Match-ups
Patrick Cwiklinski

by Patrick Cwiklinski

Updated May 22, 2024 · 12:06 PM PDT

kentucky sports betting

Thanks to the passing of HB 511 on the last day of Kentucky’s 2023 legislative session, online and in-person sports betting has finally arrived in the Bluegrass State.

This sports betting legislation called for the Kentucky sports betting market to be active within six months of June 28, 2023, the date which the new law comes into effect. Kentucky online sports betting officially went live on September 28, 2023. That means it arrived within the first month of NFL regular season kickoff and just ahead of the NCAA basketball season for the Kentucky Wildcats.

Make sure you claim a sign up offer with one of the best Kentucky sports betting apps now that they’ve launched to get extra value as a new user.

Kentucky sports betting had a pre-registration period in place that began on August 28, 2023. That meant sports bettors in the state were able to register with their favorite mobile sportsbooks and land a pre-launch offer before the 2023-24 NFL season began, however those offers have now expired.

Keep reading to find out more about the latest news regarding Kentucky sports betting apps, launch information, and more.

Jump to: When Will Online Sports Betting Be Legal in Kentucky? / Kentucky Sports Betting Overview / Kentucky Sports Betting Sites: Set for September Launch Kentucky Sports Betting Latest News / Kentucky Online Sportsbook Promo Codes: Welcome Offers for Launch Day / Kentucky Sports Betting FAQs

  1. DraftKings Sportsbook

    DraftKings has gone from daily fantasy powerhouse to one of the best options for legal US sports betting. Expect great promos and one of the smoothest betting apps out there.

    Promo: No Sweat Bet up to $1,500 + NBA No Sweat SGP
    More Info Icon
    Rated 5/5
  2. FanDuel Sportsbook

    FanDuel has built on their daily fantasy success with a flawless betting app and excellent online sportsbook. Find a superior live betting experience and lots of features for new bettors.

    Promo: Bet $5 Get $150 in Bonus Bets If Your Bet Wins
    More Info Icon
    Rated 5/5
  3. BetMGM

    BetMGM brings the famed casino brand online with a top-notch betting app and online sportsbook with great odds, exciting parlays, and odds boosts.

    Promo: Up To $1,500 in Bonus Bets Paid Back
    More Info Icon
    Rated 5/5
  4. Bet365

    Bet365 is one of the newest sportsbook available for Kentucky sports bettors and this seasoned operator doesn't disappoint with great betting options. Deposit required. Paid in Bonus Bets. Bonus Bets wager excluded from returns. New Customers only. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply

    Promo: Bet $5, Get $150 or $1K First Bet Safety Net
    More Info Icon
    Rated 5/5
  5. Fanatics Sportsbook

    Bet on your favorite sports with Fanatics Sportsbook and use FanCash to make even more wagers or spend on new team swag.

    Promo: Get Up to $1,000 in Bonus Bets
    More Info Icon
    Rated 5/5

    Type in promo code DIME to claim your exclusive welcome bonus. ESPN BET is powered by the "Worldwide Leader in Sports" and is slated to become a sportsbook powerhouse boasting an excellent range of betting options to choose from.

    Promo: $1,000 First Bet Reset with Code DIME
    More Info Icon
    Rated 5/5

When Will Online Sports Betting Be Legal in Kentucky?

Online sports betting is now legal in the state of Kentucky. Best of all, sports gamblers can now start enjoying Kentucky sports betting apps such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM as they arrived on September 28, 2023.

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 with the Kentucky Derby. Additional state revenue could certainly be gained from the event and others now that legal mobile sports betting apps are becoming reality.

Kentucky Sports Betting Overview

With Kentucky sports betting now legal and retail and online options on the horizon, let’s look at some of the important details heading into this state launch.

  • Sports Betting Legalization: Legalized
  • Official Online Launch Date: August 28, 2023 (Pre-Registration), September 28, 2023 (Full Launch)
  • Platforms: Retail and online
  • Expected Sportsbooks: DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, bet365
  • Kentucky Legal Gambling Age Requirement: 18+; 21+

Kentucky is unique in that the legal gambling age in the state is 18+ and not 21+ like most states. However, sports bettors will need to be at least 21-years old in order to use FanDuel, BetMGM, or Caesars Sportsbook mobile betting apps in Kentucky.

There is also an expectation that retail sports betting in the state will likely launch before online sports betting but they should be relatively close to each other regardless.

Kentucky Sports Betting Sites: Set for September Launch

There’s expected to be a strong number of Kentucky sports betting apps joining the online sportsbook market in the Bluegrass State. Sports gambling favorites including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars are expected to be part of this new market once mobile apps are approved to go live in the state on September 28, 2023.

Fanatics Sportsbook Kentucky

As one of the newest sports betting markets in the country, the Bluegrass State was ready to welcome Fanatics Sportsbook Kentucky on launch day. Sports bettors in Kentucky can register and start betting with Fanatics Sportsbook right now, thanks to the operator’s partnership with Oak Grove Racing, Gaming, and Hotel.

Bet & Get Up To $1000 from Fanatics!

Must be 21+. GAMBLING PROBLEM? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (AZ, CO, KY, MD, OH, MI, TN, VA, WV); 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA); 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN); (800) 327-5050 or mdgamblinghelp.org (MD); 1800gambler.net (WV)
Available in AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MD, MI, NC, OH, TN, VA, WV. 1 sign up offer per user. Must opt in daily & place $5+ qualifying wager for Bonus Bet match (up to $100) each day for 10 straight days. Must place initial wager within 5 days of account opening. Terms apply.
UP TO $1,000!


Get started with Fanatics Sportsbook Kentucky and discover why this betting app is growing in popularity so quickly. Customers signing up can claim the Fanatics Sportsbook promo exclusive to new users before discovering other bonuses like FanCash loyalty rewards.

ESPN BET Kentucky

ESPN BET joined the Kentucky sports betting market on November 14, 2023. This was one of the biggest launches out of any North American sportsbook of all-time and sports bettors in the Bluegrass State should keep their heads on a swivel for the ESPN BET promo code in their area.

Use code DIME when registering with ESPN BET Kentucky:


Get a $1,000 Bet Reset at ESPN BET if Your First Bet Loses!

Must manually enter promo code DIME to claim offer.




While PENN Entertainment does not currently operate any physical casinos in Kentucky, there are some nearby in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio that Kentucky sports bettors can travel to if they want to have an ESPN BET in-person experience.

DraftKings Kentucky

Listen, there’s a reason so many sports bettors love using DraftKings Sportsbook. As one of the most trusted and reliable apps in the industry, DraftKings Kentucky is sure to be an excellent addition to the KY sports betting scene with awesome moneyline options and great odds boosts. The sportsbook is considered by many to have one of the best NFL betting apps on the market and they also have tons of great betting options on the NBA, MLB, NHL, and more.


Get a No Sweat Bet Up To $1,500 + a No Sweat NBA SGP Every Day!

UP TO $1,500



There’s a good chance we’ll see DraftKings become the state’s most popular sportsbook thanks to their stellar Bet $5, Get $150 welcome offerwith Kentucky legal sports betting launching. One of the most exciting sportsbook features DraftKings brings to the table is their Same Game ParlayX (SGPX). This feature gives bettors the ability to put together different picks based on multiple games happening.

FanDuel Kentucky

Alongside DraftKings, FanDuel Kentucky is going to be a major player on the Kentucky sports betting scene when they launch. They’ll be a great option for sports bettors in the state to bet on professional sports teams in neighboring states but also, and perhaps more importantly to some, NCAA college basketball and college football action at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.

Bet $5 & Get $150 in Bonus Bets if Your Bet Wins!
21+ and present in KY. Bonus issued in non-withdrawable bonus bets that expires 30 days after FanDuel accepts its first real money sports wager in KY (“9/28”). Unique user identity verification required. Offer ends on the Go Live Date. Restrictions apply. See terms at sportsbook.fanduel.com. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
BET $5
GET $150


With a partnership already signed between FanDuel Kentucky and the famed Churchill Downs racetrack, FanDuel is gearing up to be a powerhouse in the Bluegrass State. FanDuel Kentucky is bringing a Bet $5, Get $200 in Bonus Bets offer to new customers in the Bluegrass State.

BetMGM Kentucky

MGM is a name that carries plenty of clout among online and retail sportsbooks and their BetMGM Kentucky product is looking to be another win for the brand. This Kentucky sportsbook will give you options to bet on all the best sporting events in the country, whether it’s a Kentucky Wildcats game or the Super Bowl.


Get Up To $1,500 Paid Back in Bonus Bets if You Don't Win

Not Available in NV, NY, NC, or PR.

GET $1,500


The primary BetMGM promo code that most people associate with the brand right now is their $1,500 First Bet Offer. That’s no different with BetMGM Kentucky, although they could do something a little different later down the line following launch.

Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky

Having signed a partnership with Keeneland and Red Mile racetracks, Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky has already guaranteed market access in this emerging American sports betting market.


Get Your First Bet Back - Up To $1,000 On Caesars!

$1,000 BACK


Sports bettors will be thrilled now that the Empire of Caesars Sportsbook has arrived. Known for having competitive odds, a strong mobile sportsbook, and unique features like Quick Pick parlays, Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky will quickly become one of the most popular sportsbook options for rookie bettors and seasoned sharps alike.

Bet365 Kentucky

Bet $5 & Get $150 in Bonus Bets or a First Bet Safety Net up to $1,000!
Deposit required. Paid in Bonus Bets. Bonus Bets wager excluded from returns. New Customers only. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply
BET $5
GET $150


Branded as the ‘World’s Favorite Sportsbook’ and known for their stellar live betting options, the Bet365 sportsbook is expected to grow their popularity even further with the launch in Kentucky now that wagering has gone live.

Local sports bettors will be able to turn to Bet365 Kentucky with the market now up and running, and they’re bringing a Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets sign-up bonus for new users.

bet365 responsible gaming

Kentucky Sports Betting Latest News

Here are the latest news updates on Kentucky sports betting:

  • September 28, 2023: Kentucky online sports betting has officially launched! Seven sportsbooks are expected to be ready for launch day, with an eighth (Circa Sports) expected as well in the near future.
  • September 7, 2023: Kentucky retail sports betting is now live at nine racetracks, with Gov. Andy Beshear (D) placing the first legal wager in the state at Churchill Downs. Gov. Beshear’s wager was a $20 parlay on NCAAF for the over of wins for the University of Louisville and Kentucky plus under on Duke wins.
  • August 22, 2023: The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved seven online sports betting licenses for DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, Bet365, Circa, and PENN Sports Interactive. In other news, DraftKings Kentucky announced a partnership with ECL Corbin, which operates Mint Gaming Hall at Cumberland and Cumberland Run.
  • August 17, 2023: In a email press release, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear outlined a sports betting timeline for the state that includes details on a pre-register date for Kentucky sports bettors. Come Monday, August 28, 2023, Kentuckians will be able to register with approved mobile sportsbooks ahead of the 2023-24 NFL season.
  • August 10, 2023: The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has received seven initial applications from sportsbooks looking to launch in the Bluegrass State. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, Bet365, Circa, and PENN Entertainment have all applied for Kentucky sports betting licenses from the KHRC. PENN Entertainment is expected to lead with their new brand, ESPN BET, in November 2023.
  • August 8, 2023: BetMGM Kentucky announced a sports betting partnership with Revolutionary Racing Kentucky (RRKY). The partnership guarantees sports betting market access for BetMGM when Kentucky online sports betting goes live Sept. 28, 2023.
  • July 10, 2023: Kentucky sports betting is officially set to launch in September 2023. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) announced online Kentucky sports betting can begin on September 28, 2023, with retail sportsbooks launching slightly earlier on September 7. This comes after the KHRC approved sports betting regulations and rules, which allow for three types of sports betting licenses in the state. Nine operator licenses, held by Kentucky horse racing tracks, allow for working partnerships with up to three sports betting service providers each. Sports betting licenses are expected to be allocated in the coming weeks.
  • June 20, 2023: The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has scheduled a meeting for early July to hold the first discussions around KY sports betting rules and regulations. With rules and regulations for Kentucky sports betting set for July, sportsbook licensing could follow shortly thereafter. Retail KY sportsbooks are expected to open before the start of the NFL season, with Kentucky online sports betting expected in late 2023 or January 2024 at the latest.
  • March 31, 2023: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signs HB 551 into law. The move positions Kentucky to launch sports betting in the state come late 2023 or early 2024.
  • March 30, 2023: The Kentucky Senate approves sports betting House Bill 551 (HB 551). If signed into law, Kentucky will become the 37th state to legalize sports betting.
  • March 8, 2023: A new Kentucky sports betting bill is making its way through the legislative process, as the bill from Rep. Michael Meredith to legalize retail/online sports betting for horse tracks has gone through a committee hearing and onto the House floor.
  • April 14, 2022: Legalized Kentucky sports betting will have to wait another year, as HB 606 never received an official hearing on the Senate floor from lawmakers. Kentucky sports betting faces an uphill legalization battle in 2023.
  • March 18, 2022: The Kentucky House of Representatives passed bill HB 606 by a vote of 58-30, and for the first time in state history, a retail and online sports betting bill will advance to the Senate.
  • March 16, 2022: The latest Kentucky sports betting bill, HB 606, passed the House Licensing Committee. This bill would legalize retail and online sports betting, however there’s still a long way to go before these options are legalized.

Finally, in March 2023, Kentucky Gov. Beshear signed HB 511 into law which effectively legalized sports betting in the state in preparation for a launch of a online and retail sports betting in Kentucky. Online KY sports betting is anticipated to get underway on September 28, 2023.

Kentucky Sports Betting Bill

After numerous attempts to legalize sports betting in the Bluegrass State, Rep. Michael Meredith’s (R-19) sports betting bill HB 551 was the piece of legislation that eventually crossed the finish line.

Kentucky became the 37th state to legalize sports betting one the State Senate approved HB 551 and Governor Andy Beshear signed it into law.

Kentucky Sports Betting Tax Rate

Kentucky sports betting bill HB 551 legalizes retail sports betting at local horse racing tracks like Churchill Downs, and online wagering across the state. The bill sets a retail sports betting tax rate at 9.75% and an online sports betting tax rate at 14.25% on adjusted gross sports betting revenue.

By comparison, Ohio’s retail and online sports betting tax rate sits far above Kentucky’s at 20%. Meanwhile, the Massachusetts online sports betting tax rate is 20% while their retail sportsbook tax rate is 15%. As you can see, Kentucky’s tax rates on sports betting seems to be a little friendlier towards sportsbooks coming in.

Kentucky Online Sportsbook Promo Codes: Welcome Offers for Launch Day

Any time sports betting launches in a state, the advertisements for sportsbooks increase tenfold. Whether its TV commercials, ads before a video online, or even posters on a bus, the marketing push in Kentucky is inevitable.

If you’re an interested sports bettor, then don’t drown out these ads as just noise. Kentucky sportsbooks will have huge sign-up offers available to new customers, giving you the upper hand when you go to make your first wager.

We’ll have all the best bonus codes available right here on launch day so you can get started with a Kentucky sports betting site,

How to Place a Bet with a Kentucky Online Sportsbook

Making your first bet with a Kentucky online sports betting will be a simple and memorable process. Best of all, registering a Kentucky sportsbook account to place your first wager will automatically unlock the best promo code available at the time.

Armed with a promotion from your chosen sportsbook, you can easily bet on beloved Kentucky sports teams like the Kentucky Wildcats, Louisville Cardinals, nearby local teams like the Cincinnati Reds, or any other team you love. Betting with a KY sports betting site is the most exciting way to get closer to all the action in your favorite Kentucky sporting events.

Before you can start wagering with a Kentucky online sportsbook, there are a few straightforward steps to follow:

  1. Complete the sign-up process with a Kentucky sportsbook to create your account.
  2. Add funds to your Kentucky sportsbook account using an authorized payments method.
  3. Make your first wager with a Kentucky sports betting site.

Here’s a further explanation of each of the steps listed above.

Sign Up with a Kentucky Sports Betting Site

Registering at a Kentucky sports betting site is a straightforward process. We’ll have exclusive download links added to this page to get you started as soon as Kentucky sports betting goes live on Sept. 28, 2023.

Kentucky sportsbooks will as for personal details like first/last name, phone number, email address, occupation, and the last four digits of your SSN to verify your identity. Rest assured, your personal details are 100% secure with the legit KY sports betting sites listed on this page.

By signing up with a Kentucky sports wagering site, you automatically unlock an enticing welcome bonus. Although the specific value of this introductory promotion may vary across sportsbooks, they consistently provide the most appealing incentives compared to other sports betting platforms.

It’s an exciting opportunity to capitalize on these sign-up offers prior to placing your initial wager with a Kentucky sportsbook.

Make a Payment to Your KY Sportsbook Account

With numerous options for depositing and withdrawing funds at Kentucky sportsbooks, the process of banking is straightforward and adaptable in most scenarios. Once you have finalized your first deposit, you are fully prepared to place your first bet with a Kentucky sportsbook.

Kentucky sportsbooks will accept a comprehensive range of payment methods for adding funds to your account, including debit cards, credit cards like Visa/MasterCard, e-wallets such as PayPal, and bank transfers to name a few.

Once you have completed the registration process with a Kentucky sportsbook and funded your account, you’re ready to start wagering on your favorite games with world-class Kentucky sports betting platforms.

Start Betting

Last but not least, it’s time to start wagering! Kentucky sports betting sites offer you the chance to ramp up the action in whatever game you’re watching and win a bit of money if you’re lucky.

Engaging in responsible betting on your preferred games presents the optimal means to immerse yourself in the exhilaration. Always remember you should never bet more than you can afford to lose.

Be sure you’re adequately prepared to participate once sports betting has become accessible in Kentucky.

Local Teams and Kentucky Sports Betting Partnerships

As of right now, the only Kentucky sports betting partnerships that have been signed are between horse racing tracks and sportsbooks looking to enter the online wagering space.

The Kentucky sports betting partnerships that have been signed so far are as follows:

FanDuel Sportsbook with Churchill Downs

FanDuel Sportsbook will be one of the top dogs on the Kentucky sports betting scene after securing market access via their partnership with the iconic Churchill Downs in Louisville. Despite there being little details of what this partnership will entail exactly, it’s likely that we’ll see FanDuel Sportsbook branding at Churchill Downs once online sports betting goes live in the state.

Caesars Sportsbook with Keeneland and Red Mile

Caesars Sportsbook is set to be the official sports betting partner of the Keeneland and Red Mile horseracing tracks in Kentucky. Caesars’ plans include launching the first ever brick-and-mortar retail location in the state and it’s likely there will also be plenty of branding visible to those visiting Keeneland and Red Mile.

We’re keeping this page updated with all the latest Kentucky sports betting partnership announcements.

BetMGM with Revolutionary Racing Kentucky

The BetMGM sportsbook is going to be one of the first online sports betting operators to launch in Kentucky thanks to their partnership with Revolutionary Racing Kentucky (RRKY).

BetMGM and RRKY have plans to build a 5,200 square-foot brick-and-mortar sportsbook at Sandy’s Racing and Gaming in Ashland, KY. The agreement allows the BetMGM KY app to go live once online Kentucky sports betting commences on Sept. 28, 2023.

Kentucky College Sports Betting

While Kentucky might not have any in-state professional sports teams, the college sports scene in Kentucky is one of the hottest in the country.

Some of the NCAA football and NCAA basketball teams you’ll be able to wager on in Kentucky include the following:

  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Louisville
  • Western Kentucky University
  • Murray State University
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • Morehead State University

Kentucky also has a competitive college baseball team that sports bettors will be eager to wager on. While some states restrict college sports betting, Kentucky sports betting rules and regulations will allow bettors NCAA betting access with very few limitations.

Kentucky Wildcats

By far the most successful sports organization to come out of the Bluegrass State, the University of Kentucky Wildcats have long history of basketball success and remain an elite college sports entity with eight NCAA championships to their name.

Led by head coach John Calipari, the Wildcats finished their 2022-23 regular season campaign with a respectable 21-11 record and were anchored by players like Oscar Tshiebwe, Carson Wallace, and Chris Livingston. This year’s Wildcat squad, as always, expects to be competitive once again with the hope that they will go beyond their second round exit to Kansas State.

Notable Kentucky Wildcat alumni include the likes of NBA stars such as Anthony Davis, Devin Booker, John Wall, Karl-Anthony Towns, and DeMarcus Cousins.

Favorite Teams for Kentucky Fans to Bet On

As mentioned above, Kentucky has a robust college sports scene with the Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals generally at the top of the heap when it comes to fanbases. The Wildcats and Cardinals will certainly see betting action on them once Kentucky legal sports betting apps and sites begin to enter the market.

Outside of Kentucky’s college teams, there are actually no professional teams in one of the four major leagues located in the state. That said, Kentucky borders a number of states that do have professional teams. Indiana has the Indianapolis Colts (NFL) and Indiana Pacers (NBA). Ohio has the Cleveland Browns (NFL), Cincinnati Bengals (NFL), Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA), Cincinnati Reds (MLB), and Cleveland Guardians (MLB). Tennessee has the Tennessee Titans (NFL), Memphis Grizzlies (NBA), and Nashville Predators (NHL).

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is easily the most recognizable sporting event in the state. People from all over the country and internationally tune in to watch the crown jewel of horse racing live at Churchill Downs.

So will people be able to place bets on this event come 2024? The short answer to that question is yes and they already can in some cases. Kentucky mobile sports betting brands such as DraftKings and FanDuel already have dedicated horse racing apps that sports fans and equestrian enthusiasts are able to use on the Kentucky Derby.

KY Sports Betting Rules & Regulations: What the Law Says

KY sports betting bill HB 551 gives the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) authority over sports betting in the state and the ability to award licenses to interested sportsbooks.

A few high-level details surrounding the rules and regulations of Kentucky sports betting include the following:

  • Kentucky sports bettors can wager on pro sports, college sports, eSports, Olympics, and amateur events.
  • Residents age 18 years and older will be allowed to legally participate.
  • 5% of Kentucky sports betting revenue will be allocated for a problem gambling fund.

Each of the nine licensed Kentucky racing tracks can partner with up to three online sportsbook operators each, meaning there could eventually be a total of 27 sports betting sites available once the market is matured.

Kentucky horse racing tracks will be required to pay an initial fee of $500,000 for a sports betting license, and an annual renewal fee of $50,000. Online sports betting operators partnered with each track will pay a first-time fee of $50,000, and $10,000 in annual renewal fees.

Kentucky Retail Sportsbooks: Racetrack Sports Betting

The convenience of online sports betting is unmatched, however, wagering in-person with retail sportsbooks available at Kentucky racetracks could also make for some good times.

Kentucky is obviously known for its world-famous racetracks where you can bet on horse racing, and these locations were allowed to start offering sports betting once wagering went live in September 2023.

Some of the Kentucky horse racetracks and casinos you’ll be able to wager at include the following:

Each of these Kentucky racetracks are expected to partner with sportsbook app operators to also offer online wagering, but local residents will also be able to enjoy retail sports betting options at these locations along with the usual pari-mutuel offerings.

Daily Fantasy Sports in Kentucky (DFS)

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) are already live and legal in Kentucky. There are currently no specific laws around DFS and it is seen as separate to casino betting and sports betting.

As such, there are already a number of different operators that are live serving up DFS in Kentucky. Some of the operators include DraftKings, FanDuel, Sleeper, Underdog, Thrive, and PrizePicks. DFS is a great alternative to online sports betting while the Bluegrass State awaits its arrival in September 2023.

Kentucky Online Casinos

Online casinos are not currently available to play with real money in Kentucky. The caveat here is Kentuckians are allowed to play online casino games with no real money payout. Any online casino games and platforms that offer real money payouts are currently illegal in the state.

It is unknown at this time when Kentucky online casinos could be legalized and begin launching in the state. With that in mind, the launch of online sports betting in September 2023 is a potentially positive step towards recognizing the benefits of online wagering for state revenue.

Kentucky Lottery

The Kentucky Lottery has been running since 1989 and includes a wide array of games including Pick 3, Pick 4, Cash Ball 225, Kentucky 5, Keno, Powerball, Mega Millions, Lucky for Life, and more. There are also a number of scratch-off games that Kentuckians can choose from as well.

Proceeds from the Kentucky Lottery help fund college scholarship and grant programs. Kentucky students have been awarded more than $4 billion in scholarships and grants as a result.

The History Behind Kentucky Sports Betting

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 that had previously attempted to legalize sports betting failed until HB 511 was signed into law in March 2023.

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 in pre-pandemic days, 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.

The year 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.

Placing wagers on horse races is very popular in Kentucky and there are multiple horse racing tracks across the country with pari-mutuel wagering. TwinSpires 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 were basically out of luck if you were hoping to gamble in Kentucky.

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 was still a couple years away.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear was always 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 were 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.

Luckily for Kentucky residents, five of the seven states that border the Bluegrass State also offer various forms of legalized sports betting. Virginia online sports betting went live in January 2021 and Ohio online sports betting also joined the legal market in January 2023.

The state of Kentucky was once again attempting to legalize sports betting in 2022. Representative Adam Koenig introduced a new bill, HB 606,  which passed the House Licensing Committee in March 2022. This bill would have legalized both online and retail sports betting, however it did not pass and Kentucky sports betting would have to wait at least another year.

Kentucky Sports Betting FAQs

Is sports betting legal in Kentucky?

Yes, legal sports betting in Kentucky was signed into law on March 31, 2023 by Gov. Andy Beshear. Kentucky legal sportsbooks went live on Sept. 28, 2023.

Does Kentucky have casinos?

Kentucky has seven major 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.

What sports betting apps are expected to arrive in Kentucky?

Kentucky sports betting apps that are expected to arrive in September 2023 include DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars.

When does Kentucky Sports betting start?

Kentucky sports betting got underway in Sept. 2023. Retail sports betting launched on September 7, 2023 in time for the start of NFL season, while online sports betting began September 28.

Is daily fantasy sports allowed in Kentucky?

Yes, Kentucky DFS is available in the Bluegrass State, however it currently operates in a grey area of the law. Sports betting, on the other hand, is completely legal and does not operate in a legal grey area.

Author Image