In Kentucky, sports betting has been legalized, giving you access to some of the world’s greatest betting operators! Read on to discover the top sportsbooks in the state, as well as any relevant laws and regulations.

  • Huge welcome offer for Kentucky newcomers
  • Terrific traditional and fantasy betting options
  • World class livestreaming service

Full T&Cs apply. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

  • Version of site optimized for Kentuckians
  • Very competitive odds
  • Great for same day parlays

Full T&Cs apply. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

  • Intuitive, user-friendly site
  • Fantastic for horse racing markets
  • A truly international selection of events
MAIN FEATURES
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
VIP Programm
Cash Out
Bet Builder
Support 24/7
Native App
Cryptocurrency
Established in 2000
MAIN FEATURES
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
VIP Programm
Cash Out
Bet Builder
Support 24/7
Native App
Cryptocurrency
Established in 2000
Full T&Cs apply. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Yes. The Kentucky Sports Betting Bill, also known as Kentucky House Bill 551 was signed into law on March 31st, 2023, with online sportsbooks launching on September 28th that same year.

Land-based sportsbooks had already opened weeks earlier on September 7th, just before the 2023 NFL season, so online operators could provide betting lines just in time for the Detroit Lions taking on the Green Day Packers.

Meanwhile, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is responsible for licensing and overseeing online and retail sports betting within the state; however, it does not make any allowances for casino betting.

  • March 17th, 1875: The first ever Kentucky Derby saw Oliver Lewis ride thoroughbred Aristides to victory.

  • March 1933: Pari-mutuel betting is recognized at state level.

  • April 4th, 1989: The first legal Kentucky Lottery tickets are sold.

  • November 4th, 2013: Keno is included in the games available through the state lottery.

  • May 2018: PASPA is struck down, allowing states to decide for themselves whether sports betting should be legal in their jurisdiction.

  • 2019: Throughout the year, state legislators in Kentucky begin to call for regulation of fantasy betting and games of skill.

  • April 15th, 2022: The state fails to vote on House Bill 606, which would have legalized sports betting despite being approved on March 18th that year by the state house.

  • March 31st, 2023: House Bill 551 is signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear, making online and retail sports betting legal.

  • June 28th, 2023: The law officially comes into effect.

  • September 9th, 2023: Retail sports betting launches in the state.

  • September 28th, 2023: Online sportsbooks are launched at 6am that morning.

With sportsbooks in the state having taken in over $656 million in wagers at the time of writing, it’s fair to say that sports betting in Kentucky has been extremely profitable thus far!

That’s possible because not only is online sports betting legal in Kentucky, but it’s also taxed. The Bluegrass State has a competitive tax rate of 9.75% for all in-person bets and 14.75% for all online wagers. This is important because they’ve avoided a situation as seen in New York, where excessive taxation affects the bookmakers available and promotions offered. It ensures that legal sports betting Kentucky will be able to offer the best.

You are also subject to a tax on gambling winnings in Kentucky, based on the aggregate amount each year. In fact, betting sites and sports betting apps Kentucky must withhold 24% of payments for the IRS on any amount above $5000, and you will be given Form W-2G as a record of your winnings and payments withheld. The same form may be provided if you win more than $1,200 on horse racing or $600 on other forms of gambling if the winnings are more than 300 times the amount wagered.

Even winnings from any kind of lottery are taxable income, with no minimum amount or threshold. That’s right – if you win so much as a dollar, you need to declare it.

Although legal sports betting in Kentucky hasn’t been around for all that long, you'll still have access to a number of excellent operators. Here, I’m going to showcase 5 examples of the best, and why I think they’re so special.

1. FanDuel – More Than Just a Fantasy

FanDuel is best known as being among the top fantasy betting sites in the world. And they certainly live up to that reputation.

Kentuckians can enjoy a creative and generous selection of fantasy betting options ideal even for newcomers, for whom the whole concept is a new online betting adventure.

In fact, with a broad collection of competitive odds, including tons of bet boosts and the spectacular “Parlay Hub”, even the industry icons of traditional sports betting have some serious competition.

The site's useability helps set it apart here too. How many other platforms offer “Free to play” and “Learn to bet” options so everyone can hit the ground running? An astonishingly accessible and comprehensive sports betting experience, suitable regardless of your level of experience!

Pros:

  • Fantastically fun fantasy betting
  • The ideal choice for newcomers
  • Top-tier traditional sportsbook

Cons:

  • Some may find level of assistance to be hand-holding

2. BetMGM – Custom-Made for Kentucky

One of the coolest things about BetMGM is they don’t just operate across various states, but also tailor their offerings to each region.

This means that Kentuckians will find everything designed to their own sporting tastes, from the promotions on offer to the sports most prominently displayed.

But wherever you’re from in the US, one thing you can rest assured of is that BetMGM offers great markets on truly global selection of events. Search through their top sports, and you’ll find everything from European football and the latest NBA season to the Superbowl and niche snooker tournaments on the other side of the world.

Best of all, the quality of their odds never wavers in either its variety or competitiveness throughout.

They’re especially good for their constantly updating selection of live markets, complete with stats, graphics, and livestreaming where possible. Back all that up with a classic design, both aesthetically and structurally, and you end up with a breezy sports betting experience full of hidden depths!

Pros:

  • Kentucky specific version of site available
  • Fantastic live experience
  • Beautifully designed site and app

Cons:

  • No esports available

3. bet365 – A Truly Global Icon

Unlike many of the others on this list, bet365 are not best known as an American sportsbook. But, because of the immense reach of the events they cover, and the depth of the markets per event (I’ve witnessed literally several hundreds of odds on big games), that just means you’re getting the best of both worlds.

If you’re someone of international tastes, I can’t imagine there’s many events small or obscure enough that you won’t find them here if they’re available to bet on anywhere. This includes Kentucky sports, as they can also stand toe-to-toe with American operators in that regard too.

They might not have the user-friendly facilities of FanDuel – practically no others have – but I do think it’s worth praising just how intuitive and cleverly structured bet365 is as a site. It’s so impressive to be able to hold so many betting options without causing confusion or breaking a technical sweat even when livestreaming.

They are a true all-rounder, with incredibly generous promotions, elite odds offers, round-the-clock customer service, and a deservedly impeccable reputation.

Pros:

  • A jack-of-all-trades betting site
  • Probably the largest selection of markets here
  • Buttery-smooth livestreams

Cons:

  • Old fashioned aesthetic won’t suit all

4. ESPN.Bet – All American Greatness

I’m going to start here with what ESPN.Bet lacks, because it’s important to make clear their target audience. While they do cover some global sporting events, that’s not their forte. They are about American football, basketball, hockey, combat sports, baseball and all those other all-American juggernauts. And they provide for a mainstream Kentucky audience with terrific depth.

For instance, the lower leagues of college basketball are covered here in more depth than on most alternatives. Furthermore, I’ve been really impressed by how ESPN.Bet stands up to more experienced competition with excellent round the clock live chat customer service, and design quality up there with the best Kentucky sports betting can provide.

This American-centric focus also allows them to provide lots of events-focused promotions, which when backed with ESPN’s nigh untouchable play-by-play notes to create a truly immersive experience.

Pros:

  • Fantastic if you’re primarily after American sports markets
  • Mature, accomplished design
  • Great play-by-play coverage

Cons:

  • Less international events covered

5. Caesars – A Warm Welcome Backed by Impressive Consistency

I have to say this might be my favorite first impression of any online sports betting Kentucky operator.

I step through the virtual doors, and it tells me “You’re in Kentucky” and showcases everything that’s on available in a snap: a huge welcome offer, immediate access to arguably the best sports betting app Kentucky has to offer, information on how to bet for newcomers, the “Caesars Rewards” scheme, and more.

And it doesn’t stop there. While lots of betting sites kick off with a generosity which wanes soon after signing up, that's not the case with Caesars. Their William Hill partnership has helped them be an international option on the level with bet365, complete with ultracompetitive odds bolstered by a promo page which never stops giving.

This is thanks to tons of event specific promotions, consistent rewards with fair terms throughout, which help them really stand out in terms of both the volume and quality of promotional giveaways.

Take broad market variety, top-tier design standards, odds competitiveness, and great customer service, top that off with plenty of promotional sprinkles, and you’ll find me to be a very satisfied customer!

Pros:

  • Terrific mobile option
  • Consistent promotions and rewards
  • Versatile market selection

Cons:

  • Few live betting features

When Kentucky's sports betting bill was passed, it also covered mobile sportsbooks. This means you can enjoy the greatest sportsbooks via dedicated apps and optimized mobile browser versions. Below are my top recommendations for the best betting apps in the Bluegrass State.

FanDuel apps on iOS and Android

Not only does this operator provide some of the best traditional and fantasy betting in Kentucky, but also does so on the go. Their trademark user-friendly design is every bit as good on mobile, with extra interactive features to boot!

Caesars app on iOS and Android

Considering the immensity of the betting options available at Caesars, the challenge would be to transition all that content without impacting the user experience. This is an astonishing feat of design, with a huge number of sports made incredibly easy to find. They’re especially impressive on live markets, where all the stats and live streams share space without a hint of technical slowdown.

bet365 app on iOS and Android

A world-class mobile experience worthy of one of the industries greatest jack-of-all-trades. If you check out either the Google Play or Apple App Store, you will find thousands of satisfied customers. In fact, at the time of writing, they’re averaging an astounding 4.7 out of 5 with iOS users!

ESPN.Bet app on iOS and Android

Many apps are an excellent way of experiencing what a sportsbook has to offer. ESPN.Bet might be one of the few, except perhaps dedicated mobile platforms, which I would say is ideally suited to the small screen. An incredibly smooth interface makes the most of their American-centric market focus, including an astounding number of stats such as records and standing info on the main screen across top leagues.

Caesars sportsbook app on iOS and Android

If you’re more of a casual player for whom simplicity, speed and efficiency is paramount, then the Caesars app might just be perfect. The home screen has all your top options including live options, parlay deals, and boosts available at a glance. They are especially good for complicated parlays, with plenty of pre-made selections to choose from, alongside the freedom to craft your own.

In all honesty, every one of the recommendations above for online sports betting Kentucky has a broad selection of excellent promotions. But these are extra special. I’ve found what I think is the pinnacle of sports betting Kentucky promotions, available right now.

BetMGM: Get Up To $1500 Paid Back In Bonus Bets If You Don’t Win

It’s important to note that a great welcome offer shouldn’t just provide real, tangible value. That means that you will actually be left with some form of real advantage and/or reward once all the terms are complete. But also, a great welcome bonus needs to be an ideal way of trying out a site.

This newcomer offer provides up to $1500 refund in free bets if your first bet fails, and is ideal. It means you get a second chance at initial success.

Simply sign up, download the app, and place your bet of $10 or more. You’ll get your wager amount back in the event of a losing wager as a free bet available to use on any straight bet or parlay within 7 days. The broad limits also mean that whether you’re a high roller or a more casual player, you’ve got a perfect way to get started with one of Kentucky’s finest operators.

FanDuel: Bet $5 Get $150

I think of this as the ideal welcome offer for those of you who are confident in your initial bet.

A refund offer, like the one offered by BetMGM is immensely generous, but does only provide benefits if you lose. What FanDuel offers in contrast is a huge amount of bonuses should you win. All you need to do is sign up to FanDuel and deposit $10, and then make your first moneyline wager of $5 or more, and you could receive $150 worth of bonuses if your wager is a winner.

These bonus bets, which do not need to be utilized in one lump sum, will then become available from your bet slip to use on anything but round robins. That’s a lot of scratch to explore the immense betting options available at FanDuel.

US laws surrounding online gambling can be incredibly complicated. Luckily for you, I've broken down all the key points relevant to anyone betting online on sportsbooks in Kentucky.

  • Retail sports betting and mobile sports betting became legal on the 9th September and the 28th September, 2023.
  • Mobile sports betting comes with a business tax rate of 14.25%, retail sports betting is lower at 9.75%.
  • All betting winnings are taxable.
  • Up to 27 sports betting apps may be licensed by the KHRC.
  • The law requires all operators to have responsible gaming measures in place.
  • The minimum legal betting age in the state is 18 years old.
  • Kentucky casino gambling is not part of this legislation.

Kentucky's online sports betting scene, with up to 27 licenses potentially available, has not yet reached its peak. However, you don't need to wait for more options to emerge, with those available already among the industry's best. Currently, this includes the following:

Kentucky Online and Mobile Sportsbooks and Their Land-Based Partners

CasinoAvailable Online in Kentucky Now?Kentucky Land Based Partner
bet365YesSandy’s Gaming and Racing
FanDuelYesTurfway Park Racing and Gaming, Newport Racing and Gaming
DraftKingsYesCumberland Run
CaesarsYesRed Mile Racing
BetMGMYesSandy’s Gaming and Racing
ESPN.BetYesEllis Park Racing and Gaming
FanaticsYesOak Grove Racing, Gaming and Hotel
Circa SportsNoCumberland Run

Eligible To Be Land-based Kentucky Sportsbooks

CasinoLocation
Churchill Downs700 Central Avenue, Louisville, KY 40208
Derby City Gaming140 South 4th Street, Louisville, KY 40202
Ellis ParkWFC3+2Q9 Ellis Park Race Track, 3300 US-41 N, Henderson, KY 42420
Keeneland4201 Versailles Rd, Lexington, Kentucky
Kentucky Downs5629 Nashville Rd, Franklin, KY 42134
The Mint Gaming Hall Bowling Green2475 Scottsville Rd Ste. 101 & 102, Bowling Green, KY 42104
The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland Run777 Winners Lane, Corbin, KY 40701
Newport Racing and Gaming1723 Monmouth St, Newport, KY 41071
Oak Grove Gaming and Racing777 Winners Way, Oak Grove, KY 42262
The Red Mile1200 Red Mile Rd, Lexington, KY 40504
Sandy’s Gaming and Racing10699 US-60, Ashland, KY 41102
Turfway Park7500 Turfway Rd, Florence, KY 41042

As in all other US states, certain sports in Kentucky are more popular than others. The below three enjoy passionate local support, meaning you'll find better odds and a greater likelihood of event-specific promotions at your chosen online sportsbook.

Basketball

No other sport has the history nor popularity of basketball in Kentucky. With the Kentucky Wildcats earning eight men’s championships, two women’s championships, and several dozen conference championships, their record is truly formidable. And the efforts on the court are met with the enthusiasm of the fans, with millions tuning in for key games.

American Football

Considering how beloved it is throughout the entire country, it should be little surprise that American Football is also one of the most popular sports in Kentucky. Even without an NFL team, there’s still plenty of fantastic offers and betting markets in the state, and the Super Bowl itself, of course, remains a highlight of any American sports fans betting calendar – especially with large state support going to the neighboring Cincinnati Bengals.

Soccer

Something that sets Kentucky apart from many US states is a love of soccer. That’s why it’s so great that there are several excellent sportsbooks, with truly international credentials capable of providing the best odds on international tournaments. They even have their own teams, Louisville City Football Club, which plays in the USL Championship, and Racing Louisville FC, of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Here are 5 teams which showcase Kentucky's sporting spirit, many of which will be available to bet on from top bookmakers available in the state.

1. Kentucky Wildcats (Basketball)

Arguably the most celebrated college basketball team of all time, the Kentucky Wildcats are a simple answer to the question of why the state has such a long-lasting love affair with the sport. Their credentials are undeniable, with the most victories, best all-time winning percentage, and eight NCAA championships to their name.

2. Kentucky Wildcats (Football)

Wildcats doesn’t just refer to basketball, with the University of Kentucky’s top team sharing the name as they showcase their skills in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the NCAA Eastern Division. Their ability to recruit the top emerging talents has made them one to watch for college football fans, and with a history which dates back to 1881, they are a part of the state's immensely storied sporting history.

3. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Basketball)

Kentucky are exceptional when it comes to basketball at multiple levels, which reinforces the sport’s popularity across the state. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers may not have the prestige of the Wildcats, but they are an impressive part of the history of the NCAA, with the 8th best ever winning percentage.

4. Louisville Bats (Baseball)

An affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, Minor League Baseball’s Louisville Bats may have won their last AA league title in 2001, but they reman an exciting breeding ground for young talent and a fantastic way for local Kentuckians to enjoy a day out at the ball game.

5. Louisville City (Soccer)

Playing in the USL Championship, the second top tier of American soccer, Louisville City are the only team in the league to win back-to-back championships. They also fell just short in 2019 and are looking to regain their crown, if you needed a reason to check out the efforts of this immensely popular embodiment of Kentucky’s passion for soccer.

The impact of the legalization of online betting in Kentucky has changed the entire landscape of what’s possible for sports gambling fans in the state. Here’s why.

  • It’s legal and safe – This may seem obvious, but the biggest benefit of sports betting’s legalization is that you can now bet on sports with legal recompense should payment not be forthcoming. Furthermore, you can do so on bookmakers known to live up to high security standards due to the requirements of obtaining a license from the KHRC.

  • A higher quality experience – The competition amongst top bookmakers means better everything, from customer service and design quality to live streams and odds standards.

  • The ability to play with American currency – The only way of accessing sportsbooks in Kentucky before the passing of House Bill 551 was to illegally access sites which utilize crypto and play there anonymously. This is not only unwise from a security perspective, but it also requires access to crypto. Now, however, you can bet with the American dollar, allowing you to select a viable payment method that works for you personally.

  • Promotional opportunities – I’m so happy to see so many bonuses available for Kentucky sports betting. These can include enormously generous welcome offers, free bets, acca insurance, bet boosts, VIP programs, and anything else the operator has the imagination to offer. They might also be specifically tailored to Kentucky betting tastes for a more targeted experience.

  • More local sports coverage – Betting sites aimed at Kentuckians means there’s a better chance of smaller events and teams being covered. This is incredibly important for an area like Kentucky, which has tons of great sporting options but not a whole lot in the way of professional teams.

If you’re a Kentuckian totally new to betting online, the good news is that it’s all very simple. Just follow these steps below:

Step One: Choose an operator

Knowing where you’ll be betting is the first step. Consider what you want out of an operator, then read my recommendations above to find your new favorite.

Step Two: Sign up

Registration forms should be clearly advertised and simple to fill in. They usually just require a few key pieces of information such as your name, address, e-mail, phone number and date of birth, for instance.

Step Three: Make a deposit

Usually after registration you’ll be able to make a deposit. Simply select the payment method relevant to you – this is typically available via your profile. Fill in the relevant information and tell them how much you wish to deposit. Confirm and you’re good to go.

Step Four: Make a bet

Search through the markets and pick one which works for you. Click on the market, and your selection should appear on your bet slip. Provide the amount you wish to bet. Returns should now be made clear. If you’re happy with what’s being offered, you can confirm your bet.

Step Five: Withdraw your winnings

When you’re ready, and when you have the cash, you can withdraw your winnings. Just like your deposit, this requires some basic information and an amount. Do note that some withdrawals can take several days.

Launch dateSeptember 28th, 2023
Legal age 18
Retail bettingYes
Online sports bettingYes
Esports bettingYes
College bettingYes
Mobile bettingYes
Taxable winningsAll winnings are taxable
Geolocation servicesYes
RegulatorKentucky Horse Racing Commission

Kentucky sports betting has gotten off to a gigantic start with over $4 million a month in tax revenue since its launch in September 2023. This includes more than $340.8 million in sports bets in October.

Of course, this is an ongoing process, but I only see this trend continuing and perhaps growing even larger. Who knows what derby sports betting could bring in! Regardless, all signs suggests a bright future indeed.

For sports betting in Kentucky to be legal, there’s a broad selection of strict criteria operators must follow. For instance, there’re restrictions on how they can advertise, and your data must be protected by encryption. It’s also important that they provide the tools necessary to facilitate responsible gambling, such as providing access to external help such as that offered by the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling.

With the Kentucky sports betting bill, the Bluegrass State joined over 30 others to offer legalized online sports gambling. The following is a list of legal online sports betting states, including the newly legal Kentucky:

While betting in Kentucky is still in its infancy with more great betting sites still to come, the fact is what they offer right now is well worth the attention of any sports fan.

The small selection of bookmakers already available can offer versatile, competitive odds on top platforms enhanced by magnificent bonus offerings. All safe and legal. If you’ve been looking forward to being able to bet on your favorite sports, there’s no need to wait any longer!

It’s already legal! Online sports betting became legal in Kentucky back on March 31st, 2023, and was legally available on both licensed land-based sportsbook and online mobile sportsbook by September 28th, 2023.

There are currently 12 betting apps available in Kentucky, as each of their six operators offer apps on both iOS and Android. These include bet365, FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, BetMGN, ESPN.Bet, and Fanatics.

You can bet on sports legally from anywhere within the state on both licensed online operators and retail sportsbooks.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission oversees the licensing and legalities of sports betting in the state.

You must be at least 18 years of age to legally bet on sports in Kentucky.

WRITTEN BY Ben Gibson
View all posts by Ben Gibson

Ben has been writing professionally for over a decade. His articles are a great outlet for his inexhaustible supply of sporting facts and enthusiasm. He resides in Yorkshire, where his work is powered by the ever-present sound of a kettle.

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