Kentucky Online Sports Betting Laws
Although home to the most famous horse race in the US, the Kentucky Derby, sports betting is not legal in the Bluegrass State. That could all be about to change with the possibility that legislation could be passed in 2022 that opens the doors to this huge industry.
Administrative law and government relations attorney
Jennifer has a degree in Journalism from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C, in 2005. She's been living in Las Vegas helping clients in the casino and gaming industry, as well as other regulated businesses, across Nevada for over 15 years.
She has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books on US gaming law, including most recently, The Law of Regulated Gambling: A Practical Guide for Business Lawyers, American Bar Association (2020), and That (Expletive) Broad: Women Who Broke Barriers in the Casino and Gaming Industry (2020).
Is Sports Betting Legal in Kentucky?
No, Kentucky sports betting has yet to be legalized, though there are hopes that that could change in 2022.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Kentucky?
Kentucky online sports betting is not legal yet. But it might be in the future if a bill passes in 2022.
Kentucky has historically had some of the most stringent restrictions on sports betting in the US. There are no casinos in the state, though there are gaming facilities at racetracks.
The only form of betting allowed is on horse racing, which comes as no surprise as Churchill Downs is one of the nation’s most prestigious tracks and you can bet on racing both at the course and remotely.
There have been several efforts to legalize Kentucky sports betting, even before the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was struck down in 2018.
A bill was introduced in 2017 to allow sports betting and the following year, after PASPA was ruled unconstitutional, a panel was set up to investigate sports betting in the state.
Kentucky State Rep. Adam Koenig has championed sports betting legislation in 2019, 2020, and 2021, all of which failed to make it to final passage.
In 2021, there was some hope for a sports betting bill to pass. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said in January 2021 that the time is right – especially when some neighboring states are reaping the financial benefits of a healthy, regulated sports betting scene.
It was not to be, however. This failure was in part because this is an odd-numbered year- which means the Kentucky legislative session is shortened to only 30 days and a three-fifths vote is needed for bill passage. In addition, pro-gaming resources in the state were tied up with an important bill on historical horse racing (HHR). Thus, the best hope for Kentucky is that Rep. Koenig may find more success for sports betting legislation in 2022.
If sports betting is legalized soon, it is probable that Kentucky online sports betting will be authorized at the same time.
Adam Koenig’s most recent bill had included provisions for the creation of seven online betting licenses, all affiliated to the state’s horse racing tracks and the Kentucky Speedway, a venue for NASCAR and Indy racing.
Governor Beshear, meanwhile, has made it clear that he favors the development of casinos in Kentucky for the first time; sports betting would be a significant step along the road to that target.
Yes, the IRS views all gambling winnings as taxable. People in Kentucky who win on horse racing or the lottery are already liable for tax on their winnings.
It’s worth keeping a record of all your sports betting winnings because, when it’s time for your annual tax return, you’ll need to fill them in on form 1040. You can count on the fact that the sportsbook you play with will keep a record too.
As is the case in several states, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operate in a gray area in Kentucky. DFS has not been formally declared illegal and no legal actions have been taken against DFS operators in the state, but at the same time no official laws to authorize and regulate DFS activities have yet been passed.
If Rep. Koenig’s expected 2022 sports betting bill is passed, however, it will most likely include a provision for the legalization of DFS along with provisions to legalize sports betting in the state.
Leading DFS operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings offer services to the people of the state, who enjoy games on leading US sports such as basketball, football, baseball, and hockey.
College basketball is also hugely popular in the state; the basketball program at Western Kentucky University is one of the most successful in the NCAA.
College basketball is enormously popular in Kentucky, which is known as a diehard basketball state. The “Battle for the Bluegrass” between the Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals attracts huge interest. If hoops fans have any bandwidth left, there is always the New Orleans Pelicans to watch in the NBA.
Even though all forms of gambling are heavily regulated and restricted in Kentucky, there are several resources available for anybody who has problems with gambling:
Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling has plenty of information on problem gambling, including advice on how to spot the signs of addiction.
The Kentucky Lottery offers practical help including a guide to self-exclusions and setting limits on your gambling.
Churchill Downs has a page dedicated to gambling problems, stating that it has a “moral, social and business responsibility to promote responsible gambling”.
Kentucky Gambling Help can put people in touch with trained telephone counselors and offers a host of advice to people who are concerned about their gambling.
The National Council on Problem Gambling offers screening tools and access to other treatment resources.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services has overall responsibility for general addiction services in the state.
A sports betting bill is introduced to allow the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to oversee and regulate Kentucky sports betting.
Within a month of the repeal of PASPA, Kentucky sets up a panel to study the regulation of sports betting.
Four sports betting bills are introduced, one making it through committee, but there is not enough time – or support from the governor – to push it through.
Another sports betting bill, this time with the support of the new state governor, progresses through committee but is bogged down in amendments and does not pass through the House.
Governor Beshear gives his backing to the legalization of betting this year; but lack of time spells doom for the proposed legislation, and the state must wait until 2022 for another opportunity to legalize sports betting.
There are, at present, no locations where Kentucky sports betting is allowed. Online sports betting is not permitted in the state either.
This situation will change if legislation legalizing sports betting is passed in 2022.
No, there is no such thing as legal Kentucky online betting. Ongoing efforts are being made to legalize sports betting in the Bluegrass State, and hopes are high for authorizing legislation in 2022. As things stand, however, there are no Kentucky betting sites.
No, Kentucky online sports betting has not yet been legalized – although horse racing enthusiasts can bet remotely on the action at Churchill Downs and other tracks in the state. It is hoped that Kentucky sports betting will be legalized in 2022, especially with the state governor strongly in favor of such a move.
Although DFS has not yet been formally legalized and regulated in the state, DraftKings and other DFS operators are available to players in Kentucky. However, DraftKings’ sportsbooks offerings are not operational in the state, which has not yet sanctioned sports betting within its borders.
No. There are offshore sportsbooks that offer services to people in Kentucky, but it is inadvisable to use them. These operators are not licensed for Kentucky online betting, so if you have a dispute you will have no legal recourse.