All eyes are on the Bluegrass State every year in May for one of the premier sporting events in the US. The Kentucky Derby is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville and kicks off the Triple Crown series.
While betting on the Derby program has recently surpassed the $250 million-mark, real money gambling in KY for the rest of the year is negligible, at least to the state’s advantage. Kentucky online gambling is not regulated within the state, meaning the best Kentucky gambling sites are based elsewhere.
We can’t say that Kentucky is entirely void of land-based and online gambling, but the list isn’t a long one.
In-person betting includes charity events, like bingo and raffles, as well as pari-mutuel wagering, and the lottery. There aren’t any casinos in Kentucky. However, the six racetracks are also sanctioned to offset their operating expenses through historical horse racing, which is sometimes called instant racing.
Kentucky’s online gambling presence includes lottery tickets and pari-mutuel participation. Many Kentuckians also participate in daily fantasy sports, and both of the top providers service the Bluegrass State.
Other real money gambling opportunities are limited to out-of-area casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms that have explicitly opened their doors to US players, including KY residents.
Without bets accepted in brick and mortar venues, you may not realize that online gambling in Kentucky is possible. However, these days, there are quite a few online casinos as well as other real money gambling sites that accept local players.
It’s not as simple as pulling up a list of websites, as the majority prohibit Americans from using their services. However, we’ve taken care of the groundwork and have put together a directory the best Kentucky gambling sites that you can access.
We have an internal team of experts who not only follow all of the happenings in the virtual betting world, but also carefully examines every gambling site. The extensive process involves keeping up with the news, as well as reviewing, rating, and ranking the global providers.
In addition to 24/7 access to our lists of recommendations, you can find out even more through the individual reviews that accompany every online gambling site for KY and beyond.
Evaluating Online Gambling Sites for KY
You now know that we compile complete directories of Kentucky gambling sites, then we conduct reviews of each of them. Those reviews are essential to our recommendation process, and they include much more than what you see on the surface.
To evaluate real money gambling websites and see which rise to the top of the list, we start with the homepage and dive into every aspect of the service. First impressions can make or break a site, and they include the design, user-friendliness, and new player welcome offers. From there, we meticulously navigate through all of the pages and sections, starting with banking.
American-facing gambling sites need to have a variety of financial options that accommodate limited cash alternatives. US players can’t use popular e-wallets like Neteller and Skrill, which are favorited by online gamblers in other parts of the world. So, card acceptance, bank transfers, and at least one cryptocurrency method comprise a good, well-rounded deposit and payout menu.
We also take note of the payment turnaround times, as well as any imposed fees. Indeed, free is the optimal situation, but it’s not a deal-breaker if the casino exceeds other expectations.
Other items on our checklist include bonuses and promotions, customer service, and mobile play.
That’s already quite a bit, and we haven’t even mentioned the gaming selections. Some of the sites will exclusively have casino-gaming, while others expand into race and sports betting or poker tables.
Regardless of what’s included, we want to ensure that the software is safe, secure, and fair. Top US gaming providers include Rival, RealTime Gaming, and Betsoft, so you’ll come across those names frequently if you regularly play online.
Complete Site Reviews
After we’ve assessed everything hosted on the site, we combine that information with our overall impression. We also take into consideration player feedback and any newsworthy items about the operator.
Individual reviews are an essential component of the process. They enable us to rate, compare, and rank the gambling sites.
In addition to the main list, we get more granular by separating the top real money gambling sites for Kentucky into three categories.
When it comes to in-state regulated and legal gambling in Kentucky, the options are relatively limited. Proposed casino gaming legislation has been turned down more than once, but it appears that the subject won’t die.
Sports Betting Proposals
Residents in the Bluegrass State will surely see future proposals, and that goes for sports betting expansion as well. Sportsbooks are a hot topic in Kentucky and across the US. Now that it’s up to the states to decide whether or not to approve them, sports betting is regularly in the news.
So far, KY hasn’t taken the leap, which is surprising when you consider the big bucks attached to pari-mutuel betting. But with bipartisan support, sports betting could come about sooner than later.
KY Lottery and Pari-Mutuel Betting
Casinos and sportsbooks may not be part of the social landscape of Kentucky, at least not yet, but gambling isn’t entirely off the table. The first KY lottery kicked off in 1792. But then, it was almost two centuries later before ticket sales began again in 1988.
In the interim, Kentuckians were placing pari-mutuel wagers on events like the Kentucky Derby. Pari-mutuel betting was legalized in the 1920s and has withstood the test of time. Today’s KY racetracks also host instant racing, which is also called historical horse racing. Proceeds from the betting machines help to keep the tracks open year after year.
For a state with limited in-person betting activities, online gambling is another story.
Today’s Online Gambling in Kentucky
Kentucky has both online pari-mutuel and lottery sales. They’re in-state regulated and fully legal for players who are of age. Additionally, daily fantasy sports are played throughout the state, but without benefit to it. DFS is allowed, but it’s not regulated, so the government isn’t reaping any of the financial benefits.
Other types of online gambling, including casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms, are provided by out-of-state operators. Without Kentucky-based regulation, you’ll want to select from the best of these web-based services if you’re interested in using them.
The best Kentucky online gambling sites have been in the business for several years. They have transparency with their terms and conditions, as well as contact information. These sites are heavily monitored, both by the online gambling community and our team. So, the one on our recommended list deserve their spot.
Overview of Current KY Gambling Regulation
Casinos: Not offered
Sports Betting: Not offered, but pending approval
Lottery: Offered both in-person and online
Pari-Mutuel: Offered both in-person and online
DFS: Offered, but not in-state regulated
Bingo: Offered for fundraising purposes
Historical Horse Racing: Offered at the racetracks
Online Gambling: Offered by out-of-area providers
Types of Online Gambling
As a resident, you’re probably already aware that limited Kentucky online gambling is already in place.
You’ve got the option to buy lottery tickets, including electronic scratch cards, on the Kentucky Lottery website. Additionally, pari-mutuel wagering is provided both in-person and online. Daily fantasy sports have mostly been given the nod. Although, the state hasn’t gone through the formalities of making them official.
Real Money Kentucky Gambling sites
Other real money online gambling in Kentucky is extended to residents by owners and operators from jurisdictions outside of the state. These sites typically host casino games and have optional add-ons, like poker rooms, although some are primarily sportsbooks with some casino gaming.
If you’re looking for virtual betting and gaming, there are four main varieties.
Casino games: Slots, table games, video poker, keno, and other specialty games
Live dealer casinotables: Table games, like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat that are website-based but hosted by real dealers via a video feed
Race and sportsbooks: Betting options vary depending on the site
Poker rooms: Available for cash and tournament play
Standard casino gaming is the most common. You’ll find slots, video poker, and specialty games that are similar to what you’ll find in land-based casinos. Table games are quite different, though. Unless you’re in a live dealer casino, the game is against the computer and not other players.
You can check our category listings for specific gambling opportunities. Or, if you’re taking a chance and pulling up a site to see what it’s all about, you should see all of the gaming options listed in the main menu.
The only exception is with live dealer tables. Some Kentucky gambling sites don’t promote live dealer action. You wouldn’t even know it was available unless you registered a player’s account. So, if you’re curious about having actual dealers in charge of the tables, our reviews include mention of live casino action.
Start Gambling Online in Kentucky
Kentucky isn’t one of the most progressive states when it comes to real money gambling. It doesn’t even currently allow for any land-based casinos. However, some things, like the lottery and pari-mutuel wagering, are already in the race, and sports betting is at the starting gate.
Online gambling in Kentucky is limited when it comes to state-licensed and regulated opportunities. But real money wagering on casino games, sports, and poker play is alive and well in the Bluegrass State, courtesy of the top Kentucky gambling sites that we recommend.