Kentucky Online Gambling

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It’s an exciting time for Kentucky gamblers. Kentucky is expanding its gambling industry for the first time since the state legalized the lottery in 1989.

For most of the state’s gambling history, Kentuckians could bet on horse races. And that was it.

But at the end of March, Gov. Andy Beshear signed legislation legalizing online and retail sports betting. Beshear also supports broader gambling expansion measures, but the general assembly hasn’t yet supported anything besides sports betting.

The state will launch its sports betting no later than Dec. 28, but Beshear indicated he wants the industry to come sooner. Check with PlayKentucky for the latest news and updates on legal Kentucky gambling.

Legal Gambling in Kentucky

Sports Betting

Sports betting became legal in Kentucky in March 2023. Lawmakers passed HB 551 on the last day of the legislative session, and Gov. Andy Beshear immediately signed the bill into law. 

The law stipulates sports betting must launch within six months of the bill’s effective date, which is June 28, 2023. That means sports betting almost certainly should arrive before the year’s end. However, Beshear said he would like to see sports betting available for the start of the 2023 NFL season. Retail sportsbooks could open for the start of the season and online sportsbooks launch soon after.

The law allows the state’s racetracks to open in-person sportsbooks. Each location is also allowed three online skins. Regulators and operators are already at work establishing sports betting rules and guidelines, and the approaching deadline should light a fire under everyone involved.

Horse Betting

Home to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby, the Bluegrass State is synonymous with horse racing. In fact, most of Kentucky’s legal gambling options are connected to horse betting in one way or another. Very soon, KY race tracks will be launching retail and online sportsbooks as well.

Several different race tracks throughout KY feature live racing and pari-mutuel wagering. These locations also offer historical horse racing machines, which are slots-like games that use past horse races to determine outcomes.

Be aware also that Kentucky allows online betting on horse races. No matter where you are located in KY, you can visit a site like FanDuel Racing to place wagers on horse races. Another option is a new DraftKings site called DK Horse, launched in Kentucky ahead of the 2023 Kentucky Derby.

Online Casinos

There are no legal online casinos in Kentucky, nor are there any retail casinos. Currently, the only gambling facilities are the state’s many racetracks and two standalone historical horse racing venues.

To gamble online, Kentuckians have access to several social and sweepstakes sites, including Pulsz, Chumba Casino, WOW Vegas, LuckyLand Slots, and Funzpoints. These sites largely focus on online slots, though Chumba and WOW Vegas offer a selection of table games as well. The sites use virtual currencies, but in some cases offer chances to redeem winnings for cash prizes. 

In terms of nearby states, Kentuckians located in the northern portion of the state have easier access to casinos than their counterparts in the south. Notably, there are several properties scattered along the Ohio River in Indiana and Ohio between Louisville and Cincinnati.

Fantasy Sports

Those in Kentucky wanting to enter real money daily fantasy sports contests on sites like DraftKings and FanDuel can do so.

KY is like many states that have neither authorized DFS nor prohibited it with any specific law. Kentucky lawmakers did consider adding fantasy sports to the recently passed sports betting bill. However, the DFS component was dropped before the bill was passed.

As a result, DFS technically remains in the same legal limbo found in many other states. That means you can play DFS in Kentucky at any of the several sites that invite KY players to create fantasy lineups and play guaranteed prize pools, cash games, showdown and tiers contests, and more.

Online Poker

As with online casinos, real-money online poker sites are not legal in Kentucky at present. Much like with DFS, the recent discussion of sports betting did for a time consider adding online poker to the bill, but ultimately that idea was dropped. Other online poker-only legislation has been proposed as well, so keep an eye out for the topic to return.

There is a legal option for KY poker players, however, with social and sweepstakes sites. The most popular example is Global Poker, which, like the social and sweepstakes sites offering casino games, uses virtual currencies but offers a chance to redeem winnings for cash.

Global Poker features a variety of ring games and multi-table tournaments. Since it serves most U.S. states, the number of players (and prize pools) can sometimes be large. Look for No-Limit Texas Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and even Crazy Pineapple at Global Poker.


While Kentucky is generally less than welcoming to online gambling, the Kentucky Lottery is one of the few state lotteries that allows players to purchase tickets online. Anyone at least 18 years old can purchase lottery tickets online from anywhere in the state, in addition to buying them at many retail locations.

The Kentucky Lottery participates in the big multi-jurisdiction draw games like Mega Millions and PowerBall. It also has many other instant win games and scratchers, including in-state games like Kentucky 5, Fast Play, Keno, and Cash Ball 225. 

Tickets cost anywhere from $1 to $50, and prizes can reach as high as $2.5 million or more (and, of course, even more in the big nationwide games).


Yes, there are some forms of online gambling currently legal in Kentucky. The most notable examples are online horse betting and online lottery games. Online sports betting is now legal in KY, with the first online sportsbooks due to launch by the end of 2023. Real money online casinos are not legal, although social and sweepstakes casinos are.

Kentucky Revised Statute Chapter 528 lays out what gambling is legal in the state. For the most part, it is not. To wit, according to the statute, “a person is guilty of promoting gambling in the second degree when he knowingly advances or profits from unlawful gambling activity.” The only exceptions are the racetrack options, charitable gaming like bingo, and home poker games.

A search online might yield real money online casinos located outside the U.S. that claim to be legal for Kentucky players. That’s not true. In fact, since these sites are not regulated in KY you have no legal recourse should you try to play on them and run into any problems with your personal information or funds. Even setting aside the sites’ questionable legality, playing on such offshore online casinos is not worth the risk.

As noted, Kentuckians wanting to play online casino games can do so legally on social and sweepstakes sites.

Kentucky does not have a centralized gambling regulator at the moment. Instead, each type of gambling has its own commission. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission oversees all racing-based games and will also regulate sports betting.

Meanwhile, the Kentucky Lottery manages the lottery games, and the Department of Charitable Gaming handles bingo, raffles, and other similar events.

Nowhere yet, but stay tuned as sports betting is now legal in KY, and the first sportsbooks are due to open by the end of 2023.

Kentucky has legalized both retail and online sports betting. The retail sportsbooks will be opening at the state’s horse racetracks and the Kentucky Speedway. Those same sites will also have online sports betting licenses and will likely partner up with familiar online sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, BetMGM, and others.

When it comes to wagering on horse races and playing the Kentucky Lottery, you need to be at least 18 years old. Interestingly, since sports betting in KY is overseen by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and the new law connects sports betting with horse betting, the minimum age to bet on sports in KY will also be 18 years old. That’s younger than the typical 21 in most states with legal sports betting.

It’s not likely. No online casino bills are being seriously considered at present. Online poker has received some attention, and there has even been legislation proposing it, but no bills have advanced very far. Once online sportsbooks launch, the idea of further online gambling expansion might be considered, but don’t expect anything to happen on that front before then.


For any Kentuckian whose gambling is out of control or harmful, the best place to seek help is through the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling. The KYCPG is the state affiliate of the National Council on Problem Gambling and serves as a resource for both advice and education on problem gambling and addiction. The organization can connect you with trained counselors around the clock and the resources you need to enter recovery.

You can call or text 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) at any time to speak to someone. Counselors are based at RiverValley Behavioral Health, an all-purpose mental health program headquartered in Owensboro. You can also chat with a counselor online through this link. The KYCPG maintains an active list of certified gambling counselors in Kentucky who can provide one-on-one therapy.

One common final option for problem gamblers is voluntary self-exclusion. Gamblers can agree to accept a ban from gambling locations and resources for a predetermined length of time and cannot reverse their decision. Bans are usually no fewer than six months and can be permanent if necessary.

If you would like more information about gambling in Kentucky, there are several options. The list below should get you started with some primary sources of facts and information.