Kentucky Daily Fantasy Sports 

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) offer an entertaining and even creative way for those in Kentucky to wager on sports. DFS contests let you create your own team of players and compete against others to see if your drafting skills are worthy of the top prize.

Read on for everything you need to know about daily fantasy sports in Kentucky, including where and how you can play DFS contests, plus what to expect when you start drafting and entering lineups.

Are daily fantasy sports legal in Kentucky?

Kentucky is one of many U.S. states where daily fantasy sports are neither explicitly authorized nor forbidden. As such, DFS is in a legal “gray” area in Kentucky.

Close to two dozen states have passed laws authorizing DFS. Meanwhile, a half-dozen states have made DFS illegal (Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Washington), and the sites are all careful not to accept players from those jurisdictions.

The rest of the states are like Kentucky—no DFS laws at all. The practical consequence of this situation is you can enter real money DFS contests in Kentucky.

Best daily fantasy sports apps in Kentucky

Those in Kentucky have several DFS sites from which to choose. You can access and enter contests on these sites directly via your web browser. You can also download DFS apps to your mobile devices.

Most sites have apps for both Apple and Android devices. You can enter all the same contests using the apps as you can on the web-based sites. You can also perform all the same banking operations, making it easy to deposit and withdraw funds.

Two DFS sites dominate the market and are easily the most popular daily fantasy sports sites in Kentucky:

  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel

Both of these sites offer the largest selection of DFS contests, setting the standard for fantasy sports for all other sites. DraftKings and FanDuel both offer a wide range of stakes from free and $0.25 contests all of the way up to contests costing $10,000 or more to play. Prize pools for some of these can go as high as six and seven figures.

There are other sites that vary the daily fantasy sports theme yet still fall into the DFS category such as Jock MKT and Boom Fantasy. Meanwhile, sites like Fliff Social Sportsbook lean more closely to traditional sports betting, offering ways to wager on sports for entertainment purposes.

Daily fantasy sports vs. traditional sports betting

Many people in Kentucky and across the United States have experience with traditional sports betting or at least are aware of it before they try daily fantasy sports. Those who have tried both know there are some key differences.

One difference is the fact that DFS almost exclusively happens online whereas traditional sports betting can also occur in person at retail sportsbooks. In terms of how the betting works, though, the fundamental difference is that, in many cases, regular sports betting depends on game results. In DFS, though, game winners and losers usually don’t matter.

If you bet on a moneyline, point spread or total, the final score of that game will determine whether you win or lose. But in DFS, what matters is how the individual players you have drafted for your fantasy team perform.

In this way, DFS is somewhat related to proposition bets on individual players, a type of betting most sportsbooks offer. However, instead of betting on one player’s performance, you are betting on the combined performances of your drafted players. This “fantasy” team doesn’t exist in reality, of course; it’s been invented by you to enter a contest and compete against other fantasy teams.

How are points calculated in daily fantasy sports contests?

The points your DFS team earns in a given contest are calculated differently for each sport.

For example, if you are playing an NBA contest, players earn fantasy points not just for points scored but also for assists, rebounds, three-pointers, steals, and blocks. They can also earn bonus points for achieving a double-double or triple-double. They also lose points for turnovers. Meanwhile, baseball, football, hockey, and other sports calculate fantasy points differently.

The good news is you don’t have to keep up with any of this. The site calculates the points for you as the contest plays out (see below for more on how this works).

How to play daily fantasy sports in Kentucky

Signing up for a DFS account and entering contests is a simple process. Most sites handle registering an account and making a deposit similarly. Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how to get involved with daily fantasy sports in Kentucky.

1. Register for a daily fantasy sports account

After looking through the different DFS sites listed above and making your choice, visit the site and click the “Register” or “Sign Up” button to create an account. If you’ve downloaded an app, launch it, look for the same button, and proceed from there.

You’ll be asked to provide some personal information to ensure you are at least 18 years old—the minimum age to play DFS in Kentucky. You’ll probably be asked to share your…

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Current home address
  • Valid email address

You may be asked to provide a phone number, and the site might send you a text to verify your account. Generally, you don’t have to provide the last four digits of your Social Security number as you typically must do when creating an account at an online sportsbook.

You’ll also be creating a username and password, and you’ll likely also have to tick some boxes saying you agree to the site’s terms and conditions. Keep in mind this is also when you should enter any bonus codes needed to receive welcome offers for new sign-ups.

2. Deposit funds into your DFS account

Typically, DFS sites offer several ways to fund your account. You’ll find many of these same options are available for withdrawing funds, too. Common methods to deposit include:

  • Credit and debit cards
  • Prepaid gift cards
  • Online banking
  • PayPal
  • Venmo
  • Wire transfers
  • PayNearMe
  • Apple Pay

Some sites offer only a few of the above-listed options, but all sites have multiple ways to deposit. Note that the sites generally charge no fees for depositing or withdrawing, although some third-party transaction providers or your bank may do so. Take some time researching banking methods and pick the best one for you.

3. Enter daily fantasy sports contests

Now that you’ve got money with which to enter games, you can visit the lobby and start looking at what contests are available. You can usually filter searches by sport as well as by the stakes (e.g., looking for contests that are $1 or less to play, $5 or less, etc.).

There are often free contests, too, which in some cases offer prizes. These can help you get an idea of how to build a fantasy team without any money yet on the line.

When you construct a fantasy lineup, you’ll pick players with certain “salary” amounts attached to them. You will have a “salary cap” that limits how much you can spend on your entire team. That cap keeps you and your competitors from picking just the best players, forcing you to vary lineups to stay under the maximum.

When you’ve settled on your lineup, hit “enter” or “submit.” You can always go back and edit your lineup until the registration period ends (usually when the first games begin). You can even unregister from the contest if you change your mind about playing it, and the entry fee will immediately go back into your account.

4. Follow the action in DFS contests and check the results

This is where the fun begins. Once a contest begins, DFS sites automatically update your team’s progress from start to finish, showing how many points you’ve tallied and your team’s ranking. The site automatically calculates fantasy points as players earn them, letting you sit back and watch the leaderboard as you follow your team.

If, at the end of the contest, your team has been strong enough to make the money, it usually takes just a short while for those funds to appear in your account.

Types of daily fantasy contests available in Kentucky

There are many different types of DFS contests. Here are some of the most popular ones.

  • Guaranteed prize pools (GPPs): Among the most popular DFS contests are ones with guaranteed prize pools. As the name suggests, these contests pay out a certain minimum amount no matter how many entries there are. Typically the top 10% or 20% of finishers divide the prize money. The top spots earn the biggest prizes, not unlike in a poker tournament.
  • Cash games: With cash games, the prize pools aren’t guaranteed but rather created by the number of entries. In fact, with some cash games, if a minimum number don’t play, the game won’t run. Different types of DFS cash games include 50/50 games (the top half of the field cashes), double-ups (players earn twice their entry fee), and head-to-head contests (winner-take-all games).
  • Showdown: Regular DFS contests allow you to pick players from all the games of a given day or week. With a showdown, you pick players only from a single game, although your fantasy team cannot include only players from one team (i.e., you’ll need to pick from both teams in the game).
  • Tiers: These contests divide a preselected group of players into groups or tiers (usually six), inviting players to choose one player from each tier to create their team. Like showdowns, tiers reduce the number of variations for possible teams, which for new players might be preferable.

There are other types of DFS contests as well. Keep an eye out for pools and other special contests, some of which are free to play and offer cash prizes.

What sports work for DFS in Kentucky?

You’ll find sites like DraftKings and FanDuel offering DFS contests in a wide variety of sports, including:

  • Australian rules football
  • Auto racing (NASCAR)
  • Baseball (MLB)
  • Basketball (NBA, NCAA, EuroLeague)
  • E-sports (League of Legends, DOTA 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive)
  • Football (NFL, NCAA, CFL)
  • Golf (PGA, LPGA)
  • Hockey (NHL)
  • Mixed martial arts (UFC)
  • Soccer (EPL, MLS)
  • Tennis (ATP, WTA)

Much like with traditional sports betting, you’re likely to find DFS contests for just about any sport or league you can imagine.

History of daily fantasy sports in Kentucky

After several years of trying, Kentucky lawmakers finally legalized sports betting in 2023. Some of the previously proposed sports betting bills included legalizing daily fantasy sports in KY, although the bill that finally passed had no DFS-related provisions.

Efforts to legalize DFS in Kentucky predate the last few years of work to legalize sports betting. In 2017, Rep. Adam Koenig introduced HB 414, a bill that would have legalized DFS. The Kentucky House actually passed it by a one-vote margin, 37-36. However, the bill didn’t have enough support to reach the Senate.

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting, and a year later, Kentucky lawmakers began proposing bills to legalize it in KY. Over the next few years, Rep. Koenig was at the forefront of that effort. He was responsible for introducing several bills to legalize not just sports betting but also online poker and DFS.

For example, in 2022, Koenig introduced HB 606, a bill that would have legalized DFS along with sports betting and online poker. The House passed that bill, but the Senate did not.

In 2023, several House members other than Koenig co-sponsored HB 106, another try at legalizing the same combination of online sports betting, online poker and daily fantasy sports. That bill was set aside, however, in favor of the sports betting-only HB 511 that became law in March 2023.

Daily fantasy sports, therefore, remain in a kind of legal limbo in Kentucky. That said, those in KY can enter DFS contests without concern, much as is the case in many U.S. states without laws authorizing or forbidding DFS.

FAQs about Kentucky daily fantasy sports

You must be at least 18 years old to enter real money daily fantasy sports contests in Kentucky, the same minimum age for playing the lottery, wagering on horse races, and traditional sports betting.

In 2023, Kentucky legalized traditional sports betting, but the bill included no provisions covering daily fantasy sports. It is possible DFS legislation could come next, although there is no real urgency to add any legal authorization for fantasy sports. Since there is no law forbidding DFS in Kentucky, players in the state are free to enter contests already.

Expectations are that both DraftKings and FanDuel will likely launch online sportsbooks in Kentucky either later in 2023 or in early 2024. When that happens, KY players will be able to link their DK and FD sportsbook and fantasy sports accounts, much as players can in other states where the sites operate both.

Despite the name, some daily fantasy sports contests actually take more than one day to complete. One common example comes during the NFL season when you’ll find lots of DFS contests that include all of the games during a particular week. You’ll also see contests featuring just the Sunday games, or the Sunday and Monday games (plus other combinations).

Yes, there are many examples of DFS contests where instead of winning cash prizes, you can win entries into larger contests. For example, DraftKings has featured popular “steps” contests that award entry into subsequent contests. This format enables players to start out with a small buy-in and then, by winning their way up the “ladder” (step-by-step), compete for very large prizes.