Kentucky has recently become the 37th state to legalize sports betting, with a market launch set for Sept. 28. This means KY gambling enthusiasts can gear up to start betting on their favorite sports events very soon.
Hundreds of dollars in pre-registration bonuses are available, with more to come once the market goes live. This guide reveals everything known about gambling in Kentucky, and what’s to come for avid bettors in the Bluegrass State.
Yes, gambling is available in various forms in Kentucky, but it depends on what you want to wager on. Horse racing has been around since 1875, and Kentucky voters approved the lottery in 1988. The state also has favorable laws for charitable bingo, pari-mutuel games, and DFS sites, as Kentucky gambling laws don’t interpret fantasy sports betting as gambling. Players are free to wager on any of these at any land-based or approved online websites.
On the other hand, sports betting had long been illegal within the state. However, On Mar. 31, Gov. Andy Beshear signed House Bill 551 into law, legalizing sports betting, both retail and online. Casino and poker online gambling in Kentucky remain illegal.
Kentucky sports betting law came into effect on Jun. 28, 2023, and the retail launch took place on Sept. 7, with Gov. Beshear placing the first bet at Churchill Downs Race & Sports Book in Louisville. Online sports betting is slated to begin by Sept. 28.
On Aug. 22, 2023, the first set of approved betting operators was released, with eight operators getting the greenlight, including Bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, Penn (ESPN Bet), Circa, and Fanatics.
Ultimately, the state could see up to 27 sportsbooks, as the new law stipulates that the state’s nine horse racing tracks may each have three Kentucky sportsbook skins attached to their master licenses. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is responsible for overseeing sports betting activities in the state.
Despite only just legalizing sports betting, Kentucky bettors are avid sportsbook fans. And with the NBA season about to begin, bettors in the state can back local favorites like the Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals, all while betting securely at legal sportsbook apps.
Generally, once the regulated market gets underway, players in Kentucky will be able to wager on all professional and college sports events. Horse racing is considered separate from sports betting and won’t be allowed at online sportsbooks. You’ll be able to bet on these at dedicated online racebooks like FanDuel Racing or TwinSpires.
The table below offers a visual overview of the status of legal sports betting in Kentucky:
|Legalization||Mar. 31, 2023|
|Retail launch||Sept. 7, 2023|
|Online launch||Sept. 28, 2023|
|Operators going live on launch day||8|
|Available licenses||9 (racetracks)|
|Sports allowed to bet on||Pro sports, college sports, esports|
|Not allowed to bet on||Politics, award shows|
|Legal betting age||18+|
|Regulator||Kentucky Horse Racing Commission|
Casino gambling is not legal in Kentucky. There are no land-based casinos, and you can’t access any legal real money online casino apps available in the state, either. The only way to play casino games is to sign up at sweepstakes and social casinos that accept Kentucky players. These sites offer almost everything a regular online casino does. The difference is that rather than use real money, you use virtual currencies or virtual credits to play for free.
Players looking for real money action can visit nearby states such as Indiana and Ohio, which have physical casino properties.
The legal age for KY gambling is 18 years. This is the requirement for horse racing, the most prominent form of gambling in the state. As is the standard, players must be able to verify their age and identity when playing at any legal Kentucky site or app.
Bonuses are a staple at all other legal sports betting states in the US, so they are naturally offered here as well. Ahead of the launch, early sign-up is available, so players in the Bluegrass state can begin claiming a spot at their preferred online sportsbooks. Kentucky bettors who sign up pre-launch can benefit from special pre-launch offers.
Here’s an overview of some of the best pre-registration offers:
|Online sportsbook||Pre-live promo|
|Bet365||Receive $10 per Touchdown on a nominated NFL game Sept. 28 up to $50|
|FanDuel||$100 in free bets on launch day + $100 off NFL Sunday Ticket!|
|DraftKings||$200 in Bonus Bets|
There are several operators set to launch, and based on the new law, many more sportsbook apps will be able to join the market in the future. At the moment, these are the top KY online gambling operators to look forward to. We’ve selected these top sites based on what they offer players in other states where they’re already active, as well as the pre-registration bonuses they’re offering Kentucky bettors.
Kentucky marks the 22nd state entry for DraftKings sportsbook. And the sportsbook is offering an exciting pre-launch deal of $200 in bonus bets for players who sign up before Sep. 28, when the site goes live. The bonus will be credited as 8 x $25 bonus bets on launch day.
DraftKings is a top-notch sportsbook operator that has carved a niche for itself in the online sports betting industry. Known for its user-friendly interface, it offers a wide array of sports and betting options to choose from, making it a preferred choice for players across the globe. One of the major highlights of DraftKings is its live in-game betting feature, which allows players to place bets in real time as the action unfolds. Moreover, DraftKings is also renowned for its daily fantasy sports contests, which have garnered a massive following over the years. The operator provides a seamless mobile experience through its well-designed app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices.
The second most widely available betting operator in the US is FanDuel, and they’re masters of bonus bets, same-game parlays, and profit boosts. The sportsbook is offering players in the Bluegrass State a pre-launch deal of $100 in free bets + $100 off NFL Sunday Ticket.
FanDuel stands out as one of the premier sportsbook operators in the market. It boasts an extensive selection of sports and betting options, appealing to both novice and seasoned players alike. One of its most notable features is the ‘Cash Out’ option, which allows players to settle bets before the event concludes, thus providing more control over their wagers. Exclusive live streaming is also available on select events. Additionally, FanDuel also offers a comprehensive daily fantasy sports platform, a sector in which it has been a dominant player for years. The dedicated iOS and Android mobile apps are intuitively designed, making it easy for players to navigate through various options, place bets, and manage their accounts on the go.
Bet365 is one of the most popular and trusted sportsbook operators worldwide. It offers a vast array of sports and betting markets. So, plenty of local and international markets are covered. The operator is renowned for its live streaming feature, which allows players to watch and bet on events in real time. The feature is provided for a wide range of sports, making the betting experience more immersive and engaging. Additionally, Bet365 provides an excellent mobile experience through its app, which is user-friendly and available on both iOS and Android devices. The cash-out option, which allows players to settle bets before the event is over, adds an extra layer of flexibility and control.
Bet365 also offers some excellent bonus deals for new and existing players. The operator is launching in Kentucky with a pre-registration offer. Players who sign up early will, on launch day, receive $10 per Touchdown on a nominated NFL game up to $50.
All legal sports betting sites in the state will be licensed and regulated by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Among the requirements for licensing is a commitment to responsible gambling. Typically, KY sports betting platforms must perform ID verification, a process where the casino verifies the identity of a player by requesting certain documents. This helps in preventing fraud and underage gambling.
When online gambling in KY, legal operators will also provide safer gambling tools like spending limits, win limits, loss limits, cooling off periods, and self-exclusion. All these serve to promote responsible gambling within the state.
The Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling (KYCPG) also provides a 24/7 hotline where players dealing with gambling addiction or potential issues can discuss their gambling habits with trained counselors and get professional advice and assistance.
The Bluegrass state has a solid online history of gambling. Home to the Kentucky Derby, horse racing and pari-mutuels have long been the most popular gambling options. The state lottery and charitable gaming are also among the older gambling forms KY bettors may be familiar with.
KY gambling has expanded significantly with the legalization of sports betting, the results of which we should expect to see when the market launches. Now, bettors can also enjoy retail and online sports betting, with plenty of action to bet on.
Yes, gambling is legal in Kentucky. You can bet on horse racing, the Kentucky lottery, and charitable gaming. Sports betting has recently been added to the mix.
Casinos are not legal in the state, and you won’t find either physical or online casinos. The only way to play casino games is by visiting the nearest casino states like Indiana and Ohio. Otherwise, you can play for fun at sweepstakes casinos that accept players in Kentucky.
Racebooks like TwinSpires or TVG support online horse racing bets in Kentucky, and you can even place wagers on the Kentucky Derby at these sites. Just sign up and bet on your favorite to win.
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Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.
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