Kentucky has long been known as the heart of the horse racing industry in the United States. A rich history of breeding and racing horses has made the state a hotbed of activity in the horse racing world for decades. The highlight of the horse racing year in the USA takes place in Kentucky of course with the running of the Kentucky Derby. The state is also well-known for its love of sports, and there is a great appetite for gambling as a result. This page will take a look at all forms of gambling in Kentucky and what are the best gambling options for residents.
Sports Betting in Kentucky
Yes, we know that you probably expected us to start by talking about betting on horses in Kentucky on this page. However, with the changing laws around sports betting in the United States over the last few months, we thought it was more important to discuss the potential in this state. Kentucky has a rich history of collegiate sports, and the University of Kentucky in particular has a following that extends far outside the state borders. While there is no legislation yet, there have been rumblings at the government level that sports betting is exactly what Kentucky needs to prop up the horse racing industry which has seen its fair share of downswings over the years. Multiple law projects are in discussion so we should soon see legal sports betting in the blue grass state.
Online Sports Betting
With the opening of legal sports betting options, it is almost certain that licensed Kentucky sports betting operators will be able to offer their products online and through mobile phones. Once the laws have passed and the first crop of licensed sportsbook appear, the Betting News team will dive in depth to provide commentary on every available betting site and offer rankings that you can trust.
We perform extensive reviews of all the online betting sites, and the sites that we recommend are the cream of the crop. These sportsbooks offer players tons of options when it comes to making deposits as well as speedy withdrawal times.
We look at online sportsbooks from all angles, including customer service, mobile compatibility, promotions and marketing, and bet selection. The result of this in-depth review process is that we can recommend arguably only the best sportsbooks in Kentucky.
Horse Betting in Kentucky
Ok, now let’s turn our attention to horse racing. To say that Kentucky is the gold standard for horse racing in the United States would be an understatement. The single largest and most famous horse race in the world takes place in the state, and the annual Kentucky Derby has become one of the most popular events on the planet. Just take a look at all the fascinators and seersucker suits that are rolled out the first weekend of May, and you will see what we mean.
The horse racing industry runs much deeper than the Derby in the state, as there are multiple tracks running races on a daily basis. Churchill Downs, which hosts the Kentucky Derby, is far and away the most well-known track in the state, and it offers thoroughbred racing throughout the year, with a significant amount of betting happening at the revered track. Among the other tracks in Kentucky, one of particular note is Keeneland. Not only does this track run races of its own, but it is also the host of the annual yearling auction. The world’s elite descend on Keeneland to bid on young horses looking for the investment that will turn into the next Triple Crown winner. The event is amazing to experience for those lucky enough to be in the room.
There are a handful of other tracks in Kentucky, and at each of these facilities, gamblers can bet on races from across the state and the country via simulcast.
Online Horse Betting
With all the land-based horse racing action in Kentucky, it is no shock that residents are also looking for places to make bets online. Companies like the Daily Racing Form, Churchill Downs (Twinspires), and TVG, all of whom have a vested interest in the space, operate online horse betting sites. These sites are all open to residents of Kentucky, and with them, you are only a few clicks away from betting on your favorite tracks or jockeys.
Casino Gambling in Kentucky
This may come as a shock to people reading this, but even though horse racing and betting is so prevalent in Kentucky, there are no land-based casinos in the state. This is a pretty conservative approach for the state government to take. At this stage, it would make a lot of sense to help the tracks by opening casinos alongside. However, there are no plans in the works to make that a reality.
There are some slot-style games that are based on historical horse races that are available for play at a handful of facilities in the state. While this isn’t exactly the same as playing slots, it does provide some entertainment for those who are interested.
Online Casinos in Kentucky
With no land-based casinos in the state, someone living in Kentucky is faced with only one option if they want to play table games or slots. It is to travel to a neighboring state and enter a land-based casino there. This is fine for people who live relatively close to any of these facilities, but it is still relatively inconvenient. This is why all gamblers in Kentucky hope that the regulations will soon also open up the online casino market in the state.
In addition to expertise in sports betting, our team is also adept at evaluating Casinos fairly and throughly. We spend a lot of time reviewing online casino sites, and from our research, we can then compile the list of recommended online casinos for players in Kentucky.
The online casinos we recommend best exemplify everything that is good about the industry. From using some of the best software available to U.S. players to highly trained customer service teams available at the click of a button, all these casinos are built with the player experience in mind.
We look at these sites from many angles, but these days one of the most important factors that go into our recommendations is how well a real money online casino is represented on a mobile device. While there are no native app casinos for iOS or Android, these casinos all have HTML5 mobile web versions that allow you to access your favorite table games and slots from anywhere you have a signal. We are sure that you will love what you see if you choose to play with any of these recommended sites, but we also have a full review section where you can see other options available for play.
Lottery in Kentucky
Kentucky has a state lottery that has been around since 1989. Since then, the proceeds from these lottery games have gone back into education programs and other social causes in the state. The state operates the lottery, and they are part of the national lottery alliance that has created the massive Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots you have likely seen on the news recently. While those draws receive the lion’s share of the attention, there are plenty of other state-level draw games for Kentucky players, along with instant-win scratch tickets that range in price from $1 to as high as $30 a ticket.
Kentucky Gambling FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Kentucky?
No, currently sports betting is not legal in the state, despite the love of horse racing and legal betting on that product. There had been a law in place banning all forms of sports betting in the state (and all states aside from Nevada), but that law was repealed in May of 2018, opening the door for states to decide on their own if they want to offer it to residents. Multiple law projects are in discussion eand residents of Kentucky will very soon be able to bet on sports just like they bet on horse racing.
When will sports betting be legal in Kentucky?
We think that Kentucky is going to be one of the next states to pass legislation to being legal sports betting to its residents. This is most likely to occur in 2019, and many industry experts believe that we will see the first legal sports bet in Kentucky before the fall of 2019.
What is the best online sportsbook for residents of Kentucky?
Our team spends a lot of time uncovering every quality and shortcoming of the online sportsbook we recommend but is worth repeating that every sports bettor is looking for something slightly different from their online betting experience. In general, the best sites are those that offer the widest array of sports to bet on from around the world, including all the local action that anyone from Kentucky could want. We think the best online sportsbooks are those that reward their most loyal players, which means there is a reason to stay gambling with them for as long as possible. Sites like those who also offer tremendous 24/7 customer service are the top online sportsbooks open to players from Kentucky and the rest of the United States.