The best sports betting sites in Kentucky 2023
Kentucky is home to the most famous horse racing track in the US, the Churchill Downs, host of the biggest horse racing event in the country – the Kentucky Derby. Residents and visitors alike love placing bets on the occasion. You currently can’t wager on any other sport in the Bluegrass State but this may change soon, as there are strong supporters of wagering in the state. Read on to learn more about the future of sports betting in KY.
Our top recommended Kentucky Daily Fantasy Sports sites
Sites for Kentucky bettors to avoid
There are many excellent sports betting sites that could be available in Kentucky, but there are also some operators you should avoid. Reasons for this may include that these sites aren’t safe, don’t provide fair bonuses or offer poor customer support. We recommend you avoid the betting sites below.
Top Daily Fantasy Sports sites in Kentucky
Even without online sports betting, there are ways you can use your sports knowledge to make predictions and win prizes. Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games allow you to pick athletes from your favorite major league sports and score points from how these players perform. Check out our recommendations for the best DFS sites in Kentucky.
BetRivers Sportsbook is one of the best known in the US where betting is legal, but the brand also provides a social sportsbook you can use in Kentucky. You can use the free on-site currency to make predictions for fun. However, you can also buy currency which you can use for predictions and exchange any profits for cash.
The social sportsbook site is one of the best you can access in KY, with a smooth interface and fast loading times. The social sportsbook also has a huge range of sports available, with various competitions for popular options like basketball, soccer, and tennis. You can wager on these betting lines before an event starts or make predictions in play.
The social sportsbook does not have a welcome bonus but offers a wide range of promotions for existing players.
While Boom Fantasy is only available on the Apple App Store, this platform won the ‘Best Fantasy Sports App’ in 2018. With Boom Fantasy, you can create DFS teams for all the major league sports. The operator also offers a prediction game where you can win prizes for getting things correct.
While there are no DFS games at ESPN Fantasy, you can create a season-long fantasy sports team. These games are available for every major league, and you can win prizes if you score the most points compared to other players. Alternatively, you can create leagues to compete against your friends and family.
You can play both DFS games and season-long fantasy with Yahoo! Fantasy, with NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL games available. There are even games available for niche sports like European soccer. Yahoo! provides expert tips and analysis about every sport to give you the best chance of winning, and you can play through an Apple or Android app.
Which sport are you most interested in?
Popular sports to bet on in Kentucky
While Kentucky doesn’t have any major league franchises, it still has millions of sports fans who follow dozens of different events in the below sports.
Kentucky is one of the great US horse racing states, hosting one of the three Triple Crown Races in the US. The Kentucky Derby, held at Churchill Downs, is probably the most famous horse race in the US. Otherwise known as The Run for the Roses, it is held on the first Saturday of May every year. There are three other race tracks that host horse racing events.
Parimutuel horse racing betting has been legal in Kentucky since 1905, and you can wager on races at any of the state’s horse race tracks. There is also an off-track betting facility licensed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission you can visit to bet. Online horse racing betting is also available with top operators.
College basketball is very popular in Kentucky, and fans have a range of Division I colleges to get behind. The University of Kentucky Wildcats is the most successful, with its basketball program winning the NCAA Men’s Tournament eight times. That’s the second most of any team in the US, only behind UCLA’s 11 victories. Other programs have also succeeded, such as the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers reaching the final of the 1991 NCAA Women’s Tournament.
College basketball betting is likely to come to Kentucky in some capacity. The most successful sports betting legislation, HB 606, did include legalizing college wagering. However, there may be limitations on what is available for betting. For example, you may be unable to wager on in-state teams like the Wildcats.
While Kentucky has never produced an NCAA Football National Championship winner, residents still love watching local teams play. One of the most exciting teams to watch in recent times has been the University of Louisville Cardinals, the program that produced the state’s first Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson. Other schools have had great players, with the Morehead State University Eagles producing Super XXI MVP Phil Simms.
Whether NCAA football is available for betting will depend on what legislation passes. It seems likely that college football betting will come to Kentucky, but whether you’ll be able to wager on prop bets or in-state teams is undecided.
There are no major league franchises in Kentucky, but still lots of fans of America’s favorite pastime. While many of these fans watch MLB games, they also get behind local minor league teams such as the Louisville Bats. This Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds plays at Louisville Slugger Field in front of 13,000 fans. There is also the Bowling Green Hot Rods, playing at the High-A level and winning two titles in 2018 and 2021.
There may be no major league baseball teams in Kentucky, but there will most certainly be baseball betting if online sports betting comes to the state. Any sportsbook will have betting lines on every MLB game alongside futures for which team will win the World Series.
Plenty of motorsport races used to be held in Kentucky, mainly at the Kentucky Speedway. These included the IndyCar Cup Series, NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. However, the last race was held in 2020. In 2021, Ford parked over 60,000 vehicles at the speedway to help with the global chip shortage. Motorsports will be an option at most top sportsbooks expected to launch in KY. You’ll be able to place wagers on NASCAR and IndyCar 500, including any races held at the Kentucky Speedway if it comes back into use. You’ll also be able to bet on international events like Formula 1.
With no NFL team in Kentucky, fans have tried to follow the fortunes of minor league teams but many of these teams have folded over the years. The most recent team was the Louisville Xtreme, which played in the Indoor Football League for five weeks before being removed for not meeting league requirements. Many minor league football teams like the Louisville Fire, Northern Kentucky Nightmare, and Owensboro Rage have been created and collapsed in the state.
Without any popular minor league teams, most fans choose NFL teams from neighboring states. All these teams will be available for betting when online sports betting launches in Kentucky.
There is no major league basketball franchise in Kentucky so most fans choose a team from a nearby state such as those in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee. The Chicago Bulls are the most successful of these neighboring teams, winning six NBA Finals in the 1990s when basketball icon Michael Jordan was in his prime. The Indiana Pacers have also won three NBA Finals, while the Cleveland Cavaliers have one national title to their name. The Memphis Grizzlies haven’t won much but still have fans in Kentucky.
When online sports betting is legalized in KY, you’ll be able to bet on the NBA and every team in the league, including pre-game and in-play betting markets. The NBA partners with FanDuel and DraftKings, two sportsbooks expected to launch in Kentucky.
Soccer is becoming more and more popular in the US, and there are lots of fans in Kentucky. The biggest soccer team in the state is Racing Louisville FC, the women’s soccer team playing in the NWSL. The team joined the league in 2019 as an expansion franchise, playing at 15,034-capacity Lynn Family Stadium. College teams in the state have also had some success, with the Northern Kentucky University Norse winning the NCAA Division II National Soccer Championship in 2010.
Many sportsbooks that could launch in Kentucky will provide sports betting on soccer markets, including the MLS and NWSL. You’ll also be able to wager European soccer leagues such as the Premier League and La Liga. College soccer betting may be available, but this will depend on the sports betting legislation.
Kentucky sports betting facts
Considering the historical popularity of the Kentucky Derby and betting on horse racing in the state, Kentucky could be an interesting sports betting market. Check out some of the most fascinating facts about Kentucky wagering below.
The biggest horse race in the US, the Kentucky Derby, is held on the first Saturday of May every year. It is also the first of the Triple Crown races.
The legal gambling age to place parimutuel wagers on horse racing, which will likely apply to sports betting.
Representative Adam Koenig first submitted a sports betting bill in 2019 and has done so in each year since, up to and including 2022.
The number of Kentucky’s neighboring states that have legalized sports betting.
What is parimutuel betting?
Parimutuel betting is a type of gambling where all bets on the same result are pooled together. The exact payout potential is not known until all bets are taken.
When the event is over, those who bet on the winning result receive a share of the money lost by those who chose the wrong outcome. The amount they win is based on how much they individually wagered and how much was wagered by those who picked wrong outcomes.
A commission is taken by the wagering company from the total pool before winnings are paid out. The only legal bets on horse racing in Kentucky are parimutuel.
Bet types and markets
If online sports betting is legalized, a wide range of markets will be available to KY bettors. These include some of the most popular markets in the US. Here are some of the most popular bet types and wagering markets below.
- Player prop
A moneyline bet is the most basic wager you can place, where you predict the winner of an event. The sportsbook will give you odds, telling you how much you can profit depending on your stake. If your moneyline bet is correct, you’ll get your stake and profit.
Free bets, bonuses and promotions
One of the best things about using US sportsbooks is the promotions available to new and existing customers. These promos allow you to use more of the betting site, earn more profit, and place more bets. Every Kentucky sportsbook will provide different bonuses, but here are some of the most common promotions you may see.
A welcome bonus is a promotion exclusively available to new players registering with a sportsbook. These promos give you ways to place more wagers and increase your chances of profiting.
No deposit bonus
While many bonuses require a deposit, a no-deposit bonus doesn’t. You get these promotions through registering or opting in and get rewards like free bets, bonus funds, and more.
A risk-free bet, also called a bonus bet, is like insurance on your qualifying bet. If it wins, you keep your stake and profit. However, if it loses, the betting site will give you free bets equal to your stake.
A cashback offer is almost the same as a risk-free bet, except the sportsbook will give you cash rather than free bets. You can withdraw the cash entirely or use it to place other bets.
Some betting promotions simply boost your odds on particular markets or bet types. You may need to deposit or meet terms to unlock these offers, but many sportsbooks provide these for free.
Many betting sites offer free loyalty programs, where you can earn points for betting. You can use these points to claim rewards like wagering bonuses or real-life prizes. You may need to pay to join some loyalty programs.
Legal sports betting in Kentucky
Sports betting is still illegal in Kentucky, but lawmakers have desperately been trying to pass legislation. Representative Adam Koenig has submitted a sports betting bill every year since 2019. The most recent bill, HB 606 in 2022, passed the House but didn’t make it through the Senate.
Sports betting launch date possibilities
Considering the success of HB 606 and the legalization of wagering in the neighboring state of Ohio, the support for betting in KY is growing. It’s likely Rep. Koenig will submit another bill in 2023 with a good chance of it reaching the governor. If a bill passes in 2023, sports betting could launch later in the year or in 2024.
You need to be 21 to gamble in Kentucky
The legal gambling age in Kentucky is 21, which applies to any parimutuel horse racing wagers you place. This age limit is similar to many US states and will likely apply to sports betting if it is legalized.
Sports betting winnings in Kentucky are taxable
As with any other state in the US, you must pay taxes on sports betting winnings. To do this, you’ll need to declare all your winnings to the IRS and fill out a W-2G form if you win more than $600. Sports betting sites can also hold up to 25% of your betting winnings to meet tax regulations. Every bettor also needs to include winnings in their state income tax. The income tax rate is 5% in Kentucky.
The sports that will be available to bet on when Kentucky legalizes online sports betting
Betting on most professional US sports would be available if online sports betting was legalized. You’d find markets for the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, along with niche sports like European soccer, NASCAR, and MMA. Whether college sports will be available is unclear, but HB 606 did include the introduction of college wagering.
Sports betting and online casinos in the US
Find the latest online gambling legislation updates for your state below.
How we rate the best sports betting sites
Our experts use a carefully designed 25-step review process to provide you with the best site recommendations. Our first priority is always looking for safe operators following legal regulations in KY. After this, we assess the bonuses, betting markets, customer support, and betting features to pick out the top operators. You can see more detail about how we rate betting sites below.
Responsible gambling in Kentucky
Even though there is no sports betting in Kentucky, many still struggle with problem gambling. Signs that your betting is becoming problematic include using the money you need for essentials to gamble and when your betting affects your personal life. Support organizations are permitted to operate in the state, and anyone struggling with problem gambling should reach out immediately. Here are a few responsible gambling tips to keep your wagering healthy.
• Get in touch with a support organization if you struggle with problem gambling.
• Don’t borrow or loan money to place wagers.
• Set a betting budget so you can handle the consequences if you lose all your wagers.
• Use betting tools offered by sportsbooks, such as deposit and time limits, to control your wagering.
Is online sports betting legal in Kentucky?
No, online sports betting is not legal in Kentucky. There have been many attempts to get wagering legalized, led by Representative Adam Koenig, who has submitted a bill to the House every year since 2019. Nothing has passed yet.
Can I bet in Kentucky using an online sportsbook or app?
No. You cannot use online sportsbooks or betting apps in Kentucky because online sports betting isn’t legal. If online sports betting is legalized, you’ll be able to use sportsbooks anywhere in the state. You will have to allow the betting sites to access your geolocation services.
Is betting on horse or greyhound racing legal in Kentucky?
Yes, you can wager on horse races by visiting one of the state’s five racetracks. There is also one off-track betting facility where betting is overseen and licensed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. All bets on horse racing are parimutuel, a type of bet where your winnings depend on how many people bet.
When is sports betting in Kentucky likely to be legalized?
There is a good chance for sports betting to be legalized in Kentucky in 2023 after the most recent legislation, HB 606, passed the House in 2022. Once sports betting is legalized, the state will try to launch wagering as quickly as possible. The first legal bets could be taken in late 2023 or 2024.