Timeline of sports betting in Kentucky
With the Kentucky Senate in session until late April, time is of the essence if KY residents are to have the opportunity to vote to legalize sports betting in 2022.
Rep. Adam Koenig (R) has been among the more outspoken proponents of legalizing sports betting in Kentucky, but with previous legislative efforts falling flat, it won’t be a surprise to see a 2022 measure come up short.
Here are some key dates in Kentucky sports betting:
May 14, 2018: The Supreme Court removes the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This allows all states to create their own sports betting regulations.
Jan. 7, 2020: House Bill 137 is introduced in order to legalize sports betting, online poker, and daily fantasy sports. The bill fails to pass.
Jan. 9, 2021: House Bill 241 is introduced in the House. HB 241 would have legalized sports betting, online poker, and daily fantasy sports in Kentucky.
Feb. 10, 2022: Robert Blizzard of Public Opinion Strategies surveys 500 Kentucky residents, finding a convincing 65% are in favor of legalizing sports betting in KY.
Feb. 23, 2022: Sen. David Yates introduces SB 213, which would legalize retail and mobile sports betting in the state in addition to online poker.
Feb. 28, 2022: Rep. Adam Koenig unveils another Kentucky sports betting bill to the House (HB 606). The bill aims to legalize online and retail sports betting, along with daily fantasy sports and online poker.
Who can bet on sports in Kentucky?
There is no way to bet on sports in Kentucky legally. When sports betting becomes available, the legal age to bet on sports could be 18, the same as horse race betting and playing the state lottery. Alternatively, bettors may have to be 21 — the legal age to play historical horse racing games.
Kentucky sports betting will be bettors 18 and older or 21+. HB 241 proposed legal wagering for those at least 18 years of age.
Kentucky is considering online sports betting licenses tied to five horse racing tracks and the Kentucky Speedway.
Kentucky will likely implement remote registration when online sports betting is legalized. This will allow bettors to register, make deposits, and confirm wagers from anywhere in the state.
Within state borders
As soon as it’s legalized, Kentucky online sports betting will only be available within state lines. Sportsbook operators will have to use geolocation and age verification software to confirm the whereabouts and identities of their users.
Since there are no casinos in the Bluegrass State, retail sportsbooks could be housed in Kentucky’s five horse racing tracks and the Kentucky Speedway.
Gambling winnings are subject to income tax withholding at a rate of 6% in Kentucky. Additionally, a federal tax of 25% is tacked onto winnings in excess of $5,000.
Crossing state lines: Nearby betting sites in 2022
Kentucky residents have nearby access to legal markets as they await the legalization of sports betting. Kentucky sits in the middle of multiple states that offer legal online sports betting as Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia offer mobile wagering. Ohio will launch online sports betting by 2023.
The pros and cons of Kentucky sports betting
With pressure mounting, Kentucky legislators will look to legalize sports betting in 2022. Nearly every neighboring state has beat KY to the punch, but that may be the motivation lawmakers need to pass a 2022 measure.
If 2022 is not the year, it may be a long wait for sports bettors in Kentucky. With a shorter legislative session on deck in 2023, voters may not get the opportunity to vote on a bill until late 2024.
How to start betting in Kentucky
The addition of mobile and online sports betting would allow Kentucky bettors to confirm wagers from anywhere in the state. Some Kentucky residents may also have nearby access to retail sportsbooks at race tracks.
Select a sportsbook
Anyone interested in Kentucky sports betting should get to know the options available in the Bluegrass State. Every state has different regulations and sportsbook operators, so it will be important to find a sportsbook with odds, promotions, and banking methods that suit personal needs.
When Kentucky sports gambling becomes legal, players will have the ability to create an online sportsbook account almost instantly. The process is fairly simple but can be made easier by having all relevant ID and funding information nearby.
Claim a bonus
When a sportsbook opens in a new state, it offers various promotions and sign-up bonuses. These offers include no deposit bonuses, risk-free bets, and deposit matches. Always read the terms and conditions to ensure the deals are worthwhile.
Most sportsbook operators make it incredibly easy to deposit funds. When sports betting is legalized in Kentucky, there will be multiple options, including debit cards, credit cards, direct bank transfers, PayPal, and more.
After registering an account, adding funds, and claiming a bonus, it’s time to start betting. Make sure to become familiar with your sportsbook and its terms and conditions before placing a bet.
Kentucky’s online sportsbooks may have different withdrawal processes. Always research the options before funding an account, as it can be frustrating to win bets and be unable to withdraw funds in a timely fashion.
Reading the odds
When Kentucky sports gambling becomes legal, sportsbooks will default to American odds. These are the moneyline odds most often seen at legal U.S. sportsbooks. American odds show the favorite with a minus sign (ex. -150) and the underdog with a plus sign (ex. +125).
The odds for the favorite are listed as how much a player will have to wager to win $100. Conversely, the odds on the underdog are listed to show how much a player will win from a $100 wager.
For example, a $150 wager on a -150 favorite will pay $100 plus the original bet. Meanwhile, a $100 wager on a +125 underdog will pay $125 on top of the initial wager.
If you prefer to view odds as decimals or fractions, visit our odds converter. There, you can see odds displayed as American, decimal, and fractional odds.
What you can’t bet on in Kentucky
It is not currently legal to bet on sports in Kentucky. When that changes, most of the popular professional sports leagues will be available for betting. Sportsbook betting menus are different in all states based on what regulators approve.
Kentucky will not sanction betting on politics. No state allows regulated sportsbooks to offer this bet type.
Esports betting is growing in popularity in the U.S. but is only available in a few jurisdictions. Kentucky has not specified if sportsbooks will be able to offer esports betting.
Entertainment awards ceremonies
Kentucky bettors may have the opportunity to wager on events like the Oscars or Emmys.
What about Kentucky college sports?
Most states allow betting on college sports. However, some states place restrictions on in-state college betting. There’s no indication on whether or not Kentucky will permit betting on college sports.
Home team advantage: Kentucky sports
Kentucky does not have any major professional sports teams. However, the Bluegrass State is home to two of the most popular teams in college basketball. The University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky have been perennial contenders for years. Both colleges have formidable football and baseball teams as well.
Fans of professional sports teams can make relatively short drives to Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee. Superfans can hop in an airplane to see games in Chicago, IL or St. Louis, MO.
Regardless of college or pro fandom, sports bettors should research all sports before placing any wagers. Our how to bet guides are a great place to start.
St. Louis Blues
Other types of gambling
Horse racing is the most prominent form of gambling in Kentucky — the home of horse racing in the U.S.
There are no casinos in Kentucky, but gamblers can visit six venues to play historical horse racing machines. Those who enjoy games of chance can also play the state lottery.
Kentucky may not have any commercial or tribal casinos, but historical horse racing games in select venues offer a slot machine-like experience to gamblers craving a casino atmosphere. Those looking for the real thing can visit casinos in nearby states, such as Indiana and Ohio.
Neither live nor online poker is legal in Kentucky. Poker players can head to Indiana and Ohio to play live poker games in a casino.
Kentucky is home to “The Run for the Roses.” The Kentucky Derby, the longest-running sporting event in the nation, has been wowing spectators since 1875.
There are five tracks located throughout the state: Churchill Downs (Louisville), Keeneland Race Course (Lexington), Turfway Park (Florence), Kentucky Downs (Franklin), and Ellis Park (Henderson).
Gamblers can bet on horse races live at the track or online with TwinSpires or TVG.
Daily fantasy sports
Responsible gaming in Kentucky
Kentucky and its gambling operators offer resources for those who may be dealing with gambling addiction.
The Kentucky Council On Problem Gambling (KYCPG) offers a 24/7 hotline with trained counselors for anyone concerned about their gambling habit. In-person events are also held to discuss potential issues.
KYCPG offers prevention tips such as setting spending limits, creating cooling-off periods, and more.
Legal U.S. sports betting markets
The list of states with some form of legal sports betting continues to grow. Kentucky will join the following regions when it puts legal event wagering measures in place: