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Kentucky Online Casinos

Real-money casino gaming isn’t legal in Kentucky. There are no brick-and-mortar casinos in the Bluegrass State, and online casinos aren’t allowed to operate either. If that wasn’t enough, Kentucky legislators do not have any desire to legalize them in the near future. However, there are legal ways for Kentuckians to play their favorite casino games online.

Kentucky launched online sports betting sites and retail sports betting in September 2023, its first gaming expansion since the introduction of the lottery in 1989. A move like that would normally indicate the legislature is ready to bring more gaming to the state.

But that’s not the case in Kentucky. Most politicians that supported the sports betting bill do not support any gaming expansion beyond that. Sports betting was sold to the public as a solution to the state’s pension plan deficit. But it is unlikely to put a dent in that problem.

In the next few years, if the state needs more tax revenue to fill that gap, online casino legalization could be floated through the legislature. Meanwhile, read on to learn everything you need to know about Kentucky online casinos, including information about what is presently available and what may come in the future.

Are online casinos legal in Kentucky?

No, real-money online casinos are not currently legal in Kentucky. There are other legal ways to gamble online in the state, including sports betting, horse race wagering, and purchasing Kentucky Lottery tickets. But online casinos for real money are not allowed to operate in the Bluegrass State.

That said, you can legally play casino games online in Kentucky on social casino apps and sweepstakes casinos. In some cases, these sites even yield chances to win real cash prizes.

An online search may yield examples of real money online casinos purporting to serve Kentucky players, but these sites pose an inordinate risk. They operate “offshore” (outside the U.S.) and do not recognize U.S. or Kentucky gambling laws.

Since these sites are not regulated in Kentucky, if you run into problems regarding the safety of your funds or personal information, or encounter any other issues with game integrity, you have no legal recourse. We strongly recommend you steer clear of these questionable sites.

Historical Horse Racing Machines Are Kentucky’s Slot Machines

Like previously mentioned, most forms of casino gaming are illegal in Kentucky. However, slot machine enthusiasts in the Bluegrass State can have a pretty similar experience with historical horse racing machines. In fact, most bettors wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a slot machine and an HHR machine.

Historical horse racing machines look and operate exactly like you would see at your favorite casino. But instead of paying out players based on random chance, the machine is actually tied to the results of past horse races.

In September 2020, a Kentucky Supreme Court ruling deemed that some HHR machines don’t fall under the category of pari-mutuel wagering, which is the only way Kentuckians can bet on horse races. In early 2021, the Kentucky Legislature passed a law slightly altering the definition of pari-mutuel wagering. Gov. Andy Beshear signed the bill, thus legalizing HHR machines in Kentucky.

Now, there are nine HHR venues located throughout the state. They combine for nearly 7,000 HHR machines. Here’s where you can play HHR machines:

  • Derby City Gaming (Louisville) – 1,273 HHR machines
  • Oak Grove Racing & Gaming (Oak Grove) – 1,224 HHR machines
  • Kentucky Downs (Franklin) – 1,043 HHR machines
  • Red Mile Racing & Gaming (Lexington) – 942 HHR machines
  • Turfway Park Racing & Gaming (Florence) – 847 HHR machines
  • Newport Racing & Gaming (Newport) – 457 HHR machines
  • Mint Gaming Hall (Bowling Green) – 449 HHR machines
  • Mint Gaming Hall (Cumberland) – 447 HHR machines
  • Ellis Park Racing & Gaming (Henderson) – 297 HHR machines

Potential Kentucky online casino apps

Without any online casino legislation in place, we can only speculate about which online casino apps could be on the way to Kentucky in the future. However, Kentucky’s position in the middle of the pack in terms of state population means that any legalization would certainly draw attention from the biggest and best online casinos in the game.

If Kentucky were to legalize online casinos, it is safe to say the following sites would likely seek to launch in KY. Note that four of these five companies launched online sports betting sites in KY, and doing so increases the likelihood they will seek to add the online casino option for players should the possibility arise.

BetMGM Casino Kentucky

BetMGMBetMGM Casino is one of the top online casinos in the country. It represents casino giant MGM Resorts as its online casino brand.

BetMGM is notable for its wide selection of games. There are hundreds of slot titles on the app, along with dozens of table games, virtual sports, and video poker options. BetMGM even has a roster of exclusive games that you cannot find anywhere else.

Best of all, your play on BetMGM is eligible to earn points in the MGM Rewards Program. Without ever leaving your house, you can be racking up comps and other benefits at MGM locations around the globe.

Caesars Palace Online Casino Kentucky

Caesars Palace Online Casino is one of the top casino sites you can find and is part of the global gambling giant Caesars Entertainment.

One of the first things you’ll notice is how beautifully rendered the games are at Caesars Casino. Each slot is a feast for the eyes and ears, and its table games are sharp and crisp.

Caesars Palace is also an excellent place for promotions and bonuses. If you like to get a little something extra when you play, the rolling bonus offers and automatic membership in the Caesars Rewards Program will keep you covered.

BetRivers Casino Kentucky

BetRivers Casino may or may not be a familiar name to you. The app is the online casino brand for Rush Street Interactive, which owns a handful of casinos in the Midwest and New England. However, the app’s relative obscurity to you should not deter you from exploring the options it offers.

For one thing, BetRivers Casino has tremendous variety. Along with the standard rack of slot titles, there are more than a dozen table games, video poker games, and Slingo options.

BetRivers Casino also offers an unusual feature in the form of slot tournaments. Distinct from almost every other online casino, BetRivers lets you compete with other gamblers for prizes in daily slot competitions. Both the money and the pride from winning a slot tournament are positives you rarely find elsewhere.

DraftKings Casino Kentucky

DraftKings may be a name that you know, thanks to the company’s long history of providing daily fantasy sports contests in Kentucky. However, DraftKings Casino is worth a look in its own right.

DraftKings Casino has a tremendous number of games available. Its list of slot titles expands almost endlessly down the page.

However, where DraftKings Casino really shines is with its table game selection. The site offers more table games to play than any other major online casino. Just to give you an idea, there are more than 30 blackjack variants alone, and blackjack is not the only game you can play. DraftKings is far more than just a DFS and sports betting provider now.

FanDuel Casino Kentucky

FanDuel Casino is, like its archrival DraftKings, one of the biggest success stories for up-and-coming gaming providers in recent years. It has expanded beyond its pioneering roots in daily fantasy sports to become a full-fledged top online iGaming company.

Part of the reason FanDuel has risen to the top is because of its tremendous attention to making the navigation experience on its app a smooth one. FanDuel Sportsbook Kentucky is top-notch because it’s easy to find your way around, and the FanDuel Casino shares the same quality. The numerous sliders and its search function mean that you’re only a button press or two away from your favorite game at all times.

FanDuel also offers many promotions and offers to improve your bottom line. Notably, there is a five-digit jackpot that must be won every single day, and there’s no reason that you cannot be the recipient.

Social and sweepstakes sites in Kentucky

Instead of discussing what might happen in Kentucky with regard to online casinos, let’s talk about what you can actually play right now. At present, there are a number of social and sweepstakes sites where Kentuckians can enjoy online casino games today.

All of these sites are completely legal to play. They use a unique business model to comply with Kentucky sweepstakes laws. The sites use virtual currencies for their games rather than real money. However, in some cases, the sites offer chances to redeem your winnings for real cash prizes.

A purchase is never required to play the games at these social and sweepstakes sites. They are legitimate and a great way to find some casino-like action where you otherwise would not be able to do so.

Here’s a quick rundown of the best social and sweepstakes sites currently available in Kentucky.

  • Pulsz — 300+ slots, table games
  • Chumba Casino — 70+ slots, table games
  • Luckyland Slots — 100+ slots
  • Funzpoints — 25+ slots
  • WOW Vegas — 300+ slots, table games
  • Global Poker — poker (ring games, sit-and-go’s, multi-table tournaments)

As you can see, most of these sites feature a wide selection of slots, with some also adding favorite table games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat and video poker. The Global Poker site is unique among the sites in that it features traditional player-versus-player poker, offering No-Limit Texas Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and other variants.

Nearest retail casinos to Kentucky

Several states bordering Kentucky are home to casino properties, which means Kentuckians willing to travel can enjoy live casino action without too much trouble. In fact, in many cases, these retail casinos are located just over the KY border.

Moving from west to east, the closest casino locations to Kentucky are:

  • Century Casino Cape Girardeau (Cape Girardeau, Missouri)
  • Harrah’s Metropolis (Metropolis, Illinois)
  • Caesars Southern Indiana (Elizabeth, Indiana)
  • Belterra Casino Resort (Florence, Indiana)
  • Grand Victoria Casino & Resort (Rising Sun, Indiana)
  • Hollywood Casino & Hotel Lawrenceburg (Lawrenceburg, Indiana)
  • Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • Mardi Gras Casino Resort (Cross Lanes, West Virginia)

As you may have gathered, most of the venues are located along the northern border of Kentucky. Kentucky’s neighbor to the south, Tennessee, is equally bereft of casino properties.

History of online gambling in Kentucky

It’s an exciting time for online gambling in Kentucky. Thanks to the passage of HB 551 in March 2023, Kentuckians can bet on sporting events with their mobile devices and computers. In fact, this is only the latest example of Kentucky expanding legal online gambling options.

The earliest bit of legal online gambling came to the state as part of nationwide legalization. Online horse betting sites became legal in Kentucky in 2000 when the federal government added an amendment to the Interstate Horseracing Act to allow “electronic” wagering. Since then, sites like TVG, FanDuel Racing and TwinSpires have been operating freely in the Bluegrass State.

By the late 2000s, daily fantasy sports sites started to become popular across the country, including in Kentucky. While KY lawmakers have discussed the possibility of legalizing DFS sites, no legislation has ever passed to do so. That said, there is no law prohibiting DFS, either. That means Kentucky remains like many states where it is fine to play DFS sites.

Finally, Kentucky took its most progressive step for online gambling in 2013 by allowing a new online keno game and the online purchase of Kentucky Lottery tickets. Keno launched soon after, with online lottery sales starting a little later in 2016. Today, Kentucky is one of only 10 states (plus Washington, D.C.) that allows online lottery play.

Relatively speaking, then, KY has more online gambling options than most states, which perhaps at least lays a foundation for further expansion, including Kentucky online casinos.

FAQ about Kentucky online casinos

Will online casinos become legal in Kentucky any time soon?

Probably not, although it could happen. There are no laws in the Kentucky Revised Statutes to permit the introduction of legal online casino sites, and the most recent session of the Kentucky General Assembly did not bring forth any new legislation to that effect. That said, the introduction of online sports betting in Kentucky in 2023 will bring new information for legislators to consider, which could one day encourage other forms of online gambling expansion.

Are commercial casinos legal in Kentucky?

No, there are no commercial casinos operating legally in Kentucky. The state’s primary live gambling venues are its horse racetracks, off-track betting parlors, and historical horse racing facilities.

Will retail casinos become legal in Kentucky soon?

No, it is unlikely that KY will be legalizing retail casinos in the near future, despite there being plenty of casinos in states near Kentucky. The most recent session of the Kentucky General Assembly ended without any bill or motion to make commercial casinos legal. Nor will KY have any tribal casinos, as there are no federally-recognized Native American tribes in the Commonwealth. If KY were to introduce casinos, they would likely arrive as extensions to the existing racetracks, creating “racinos.” There is no present push to make that happen, however.

Are social and sweepstakes sites safe?

As discussed above, while there are no online casinos that pay real money available, those in Kentucky can legally play casino games online at social and sweepstakes sites. These sites are safe and legal to play on, subject to and operating within federal and state laws.

What is the minimum age to gamble in Kentucky?

You must be at least 18 years old to wager on horse races, place sports bets, purchase Kentucky Lottery tickets or play games at social and sweepstakes sites in Kentucky.