Despite several of its neighbors legalizing sports betting in recent years, Kentucky has yet to pass any legislation that would legalize online sports betting in the state.
However, there is hope that retail and online sports betting will be legalized in the near future as lawmakers continue to work to pass sports betting bills. In the meantime, residents have and will continue to travel to nearby states in order to legally place bets on sports.
Here’s what you need to know about online sports betting in Kentucky, including when it might be legalized.
Recent News and Details About Sports Betting in Kentucky
- Although Kentucky residents and visitors can bet on horse racing events in the state, sports betting has not yet been legalized despite recent attempts by state lawmakers to pass legislation.
- Kentucky Rep. Adam Koenig introduced a sports betting bill in 2022 that many felt would make it into law but Senate leadership refused to bring the bill to a final vote, causing it to die at the last minute.
- While many legislators were disappointed they were unable to pass sports betting legislation, they remain optimistic the issue will be readdressed next year and are confident there will be enough votes to pass a sports betting bill.
- Several states that border Kentucky have already legalized sports betting, leading to many Kentucky residents traveling to nearby states to place bets on major events.
- With the failure to pass sports betting legislation in 2022, Kentucky residents probably won’t be able to bet on sports until late 2023 at the earliest, and more likely not until 2024.
- If sports betting is legalized in Kentucky, it will likely include both retail and online sports betting, as all the recent sports betting bills to come into consideration have accounted for both forms of betting.
Online Sports Betting in Kentucky: A Timeline
While Kentucky lawmakers have made several attempts in recent years to pass sports betting legislation, none of these attempts have been successful. But because many legislators remain dedicated to passing such legislation, there’s hope that sports betting will be legalized in the near future. Here’s a timeline of the events leading up to the potential legalization of sports betting in Kentucky:
- June 15, 2022: Kentucky was unable to pass a bill legalizing sports betting during its 2022 legislative session. Meanwhile, the state’s neighbors continue to move toward statewide sports betting legalization as Ohio begins accepting applications from potential sports betting operators. Ohio is expected to launch sports betting on Jan. 1, 2023.
- May 17, 2022: Rep. Adam Koenig loses his primary election while serving his eighth term in Kentucky. Koenig was one of the Kentucky legislature’s biggest supporters of sports betting legalization.
- April 14, 2022: Koenig’s sports betting bill dies on the last day of the session after Senate leaders refuse to bring it to a final vote. This bill was part of the most promising effort to date at legalizing sports betting in Kentucky. Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer reiterates that he believes the Senate will be able to legalize sports betting in the future.
- April 13, 2022: The Senate continues to consider sports betting legalization as it starts its final two days of the 2022 legislative session. Senate leadership supports Koenig’s sports betting bill but isn’t sure there are enough votes to get it to pass.
- March 18, 2022: HB 606 passes through the Kentucky House by a 58-30 vote. If the bill passes the Senate, it would legalize both retail and online sports betting in Kentucky.
- March 1, 2022: The Kentucky General Assembly is considering two sports betting bills, including HB 606 and SB 213. Koenig’s bill, HB 606, would legalize retail and mobile sports betting, while Sen. David Yates’ bill, SB 213, would also legalize online poker and daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests.
- Feb. 28, 2022: Koenig announces that he plans to introduce a sports betting bill for the fourth consecutive year. Koenig remains one of the state’s most prominent advocates for sports betting legalization.
How Do Kentucky Residents Feel About Sports Betting?
While several neighboring states have been consistently moving toward sports betting legalization, Kentucky lawmakers have been unable to do the same despite strong support from Kentucky voters. According to a survey conducted by Robert Blizzard of Public Opinion Strategies, 65% of registered voters in Kentucky are in favor of legalizing sports betting, while 26% disapprove and 9% remain undecided.
|Kentucky Sports Betting Legalization|
|Poll||Yes/Approve||No/Disapprove||Undecided||Margin of Error||Sample Size|
|Survey by Robert Blizzard of Public Opinion Strategies (February 2022)||65%||26%||9%||+/- 4.4%||500|
The same poll conducted in 2020 found that 66% of registered voters supported sports betting legalization, while 27% disapproved, indicating public opinion on sports betting legalization has not significantly changed over the past two years.
This poll also found that 48% of Kentucky residents have bet on a sporting event in the past, meaning that while Kentucky hesitates to pass sports betting legalization, neighboring states are benefitting from bets placed by Kentuckians.
Are Daily Fantasy Sports Apps Legal in Kentucky?
Daily fantasy sports apps are a popular alternative to sports betting for individuals in states that have yet to legalize sports betting. These apps allow players to use their sports knowledge to build fantasy teams and compete against other players in daily and weekly contests for cash and other prizes. Many states have legalized these contests, while others ban them under their gambling laws. Some have yet to introduce any legislation regarding DFS apps, leaving them to operate in a legal gray area.
In Kentucky, DFS apps are unregulated. As they are neither explicitly legal nor illegal, platforms such as DraftKings and FanDuel are able to operate in the state, and residents can participate in DFS contests by registering with these platforms. Many of the sports betting bills that have been introduced in recent years also include DFS legalization, meaning these apps may be legal and regulated in the near future.
Kentucky Sports Betting FAQs
|Is online sports betting legal?||No|
|Is mobile sports betting legal?||No|
|Is betting legal at retail locations?||No|
|Minimum legal gambling age||N/A|
Editor’s Note: Information accurate as of August 2022.
When will sports betting launch in Kentucky?
Sports betting likely won’t be legal in Kentucky until late 2023 or 2024 at the earliest; legislators were unable to pass a sports betting bill during the 2022 legislative session.
Will there be online sportsbooks in Kentucky?
Once sports betting is legalized in the state, there will likely be several online sportsbooks available in Kentucky. Recent attempts at legalization have accounted for both retail and online sports betting.
How old do I have to be to bet online in Kentucky?
If online sports betting is legalized in Kentucky, you will likely have to be 18 or older to bet online. Recent sports betting bills introduced by state legislators have set 18 as the minimum age to participate in sports betting.
Will you need to be a resident of Kentucky to place bets online?
No, you will not need to be a resident of Kentucky to place bets online, but you will need to be located within state lines at the time of your wager.
Who regulates the online sportsbooks in Kentucky?
The Kentucky Lottery Commission would be responsible for regulating sports betting and online sportsbooks in Kentucky.
Is it safe to use online sportsbook apps in Kentucky?
No, it is not safe to use online sportsbook apps in Kentucky, as there are currently no legal mobile sports betting platforms available in the state.
Neighboring States That Legalized Sports Betting
Many of Kentucky’s neighbors have legalized sports betting in recent years, and others, like Ohio, are moving toward legalization as well.
- Illinois: Illinois has legalized online sports betting, and as of March 2022, bettors can complete the registration process online, making it more accessible. Residents and visitors can also visit retail sportsbooks to place bets in person.
- Indiana: Sports betting went live in Indiana in 2019, and now there are more than a dozen online sports betting apps for bettors to choose from. More sports betting apps and retail sportsbooks are expected to launch in the future.
- Tennessee: The first online sportsbooks launched in Tennessee in September 2020, but retail sports betting is not available in the state.
- Virginia: Featuring 14 mobile sportsbooks, Virginia’s sports betting industry is diverse, and the market is likely to grow as the state looks to introduce retail sports betting and casinos in 2022 and 2023.
- West Virginia: West Virginia has legalized both retail and online sports betting. The state is home to five retail sportsbooks and six mobile sports betting platforms.