This comprehensive guide to Kentucky sports betting aims to answer the most popular concerns about punting in the Bluegrass State. We’ll reveal the legal and taxation situation in Kentucky, as well as some of the best online sportsbooks. And if you’re not sure how to get started, we’ll even talk you through the registration process. So keep reading to learn all about sports betting in the US state of Kentucky.
Best Kentucky Sports Betting Sites May, 2022
50% match deposit bonus worth up to $1,000
- Huge Range of Sports Markets
- Live In-Game Betting
- $1,000 Welcome Bonus
100% deposit match up to $500
- Top Horse Racing Sportsbook
- 7% rebate on all horse race wagers
- Generous Reload Bonuses
100% deposit match up to $1,000
- HD-Quality Live Streaming Service
- Huge Bitcoin Bonuses
- Wide Range of eSports
100% deposit match up to $1,000
- Big Contests & Promotions
- NFL and NBA futures betting
- $1,000 Welcome Bonus
Up to $2,500 deposit match
- Biggest Welcome Bonus
- Stream Analysis Sports Shows
- 24/7 Customer Support
Up To $150 Sign Up Bonus
- High Quality Sports Betting App
- Top High Limit Sportsbook
- Speedy Payouts
50% deposit match up to $1000
- All-In-One Gambling Site
- Various Betting Options & Promotions
- Accepts All US Customers
100% welcome bonus up to $500
- Most Competitive Reload Bonus
- Live In-Play Betting
- 10% Weekly Rebate on Horse Racing
100% welcome bonus up to $500
- Reputable Sportsbook
- Brilliant VIP Program
- Impressive Casino & Racebook Bets
The Best Kentucky Sportsbooks List 2022
We have an experienced team of sports betting enthusiasts that constantly reviews the latest online sportsbooks. They analyze everything from betting licences, to trusted and convenient payment methods and even customer support. Not to mention the odds and choice of betting lines.
Here is their verdict on the best Kentucky sports betting sites online today.
- BetOnline – Best all-round site for online sports betting Kentucky
- XBet – Comparatively new sportsbook but already popular in KY
- Bovada – Highly reputable Kentucky sports betting site
- MyBookie – Trusted name in betting, especially good for NFL markets
- BetUS – Over 25 years of sports betting Kentucky
- Everygame – Recently rebranded, formerly known as Intertops
- Sportsbetting.ag – Top site for Kentucky online sports betting and news
- BetNow – Excellent selection of NFL and NBA betting lines
- GT Bets – Particularly good mobile betting site for KY players
- BUSR – One of the best racing sites for fans of sports betting in Kentucky
Is Sports Betting Legal in Kentucky?
Technically, it is not. At the time of publication, Kentucky sports betting is not considered a legal pastime, either online or land-based. Even though the state hosts one of the world’s most famous horse races, gambling on the likes of NFL, NBA and MLB is not allowed.
The Bluegrass State is famously a conservative one and restrictions on gambling have always been tight. However, we did see lawmakers in Kentucky making a push to vote for sports betting in 2020. But sadly, nothing came of it. Only time will tell whether or not this legal situation will improve in the near future.
Despite the fact that there is no legal sports betting, Kentucky based punters can still use the internet to place bets. This is thanks to a legal grey area in which offshore betting companies can operate. If a sportsbook is owned and operated outside of the US, it is not beholden to local laws. So if these betting apps and sites accept players from the US, any bettors living in KY can take advantage and enjoy a bet.
Since Kentucky sports betting is outlawed, you won’t find any land-based sportsbooks. Horse racing betting is legally allowed at several racetracks across the state. But there are no actual sportsbooks to be seen anywhere in KY.
Horse Racing & Off Track Betting in Kentucky
The sport of kings is extremely popular in KY, thanks in part to the world-famous Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs is one of the best-known tracks in the world, let alone the United States. And this KY-based course hosts the race, which serves as the last leg of America’s Triple Crown.
The purse is worth around $3 million and draws trainers and fans from across the globe. They even publish a guide to betting on the Kentucky Derby on Yahoo Sports. But when it comes to wagering at the event, there is no fixed odds betting on-course. Racegoers can only enjoy pari-mutuel pool betting.
There are several other racetracks in KY apart from Churchill Downs. Sites such as Kentucky Downs and Turfway Park run traditional racing contests, while Red Mile puts on harness races for fans of the sport.
Timeline of KY Sports Betting Legislation
The Bluegrass State has always been strict when it comes to gambling. When the constitution was first written in 1792, lawmakers were keen to swerve the corruption observed in neighbouring states that were operating lotteries. Let’s take a look at a timeline of key events around betting in KY.
- 1792 – A constitution is created for the state and gambling features heavily. Only pari-mutuel betting on horses and dogs manage to avoid the ban on betting.
- 1875 – The racecourse at Churchill Downs opens for the first time, offering the public a chance to bet on horses.
- 2011 – The first “Historical Horse Racing” machines appear in the state, exploiting a legal loophole. These devices are similar to slot machines and give punters the opportunity to bet on archived horse races.
- 2020 – Adam Koenig’s Kentucky sports betting bill receives strong support. However, as coronavirus swept the Bluegrass State, proposals were dropped and attention shifted towards public health matters.
- 2021 – Proposed Kentucky sports betting legislation is once again stalled by the coronavirus situation. With insufficient time to debate the bill, no progress is made. But hopes for 2022 and 2023 remain high.
We touched upon this topic previously, but it is possible to bet on sports in KY even though betting sites are technically illegal. Local laws may forbid sportsbooks from operating, but they can’t do anything about the hundreds of international bookmakers. Many of these offshore sites accept players from the USA, including Kentucky.
Since there are no offices inside the state, no staff and no servers, local authorities are powerless against these companies. There has never been any documented case of a punter getting into trouble for playing at such a betting site. So while Kentucky sports betting may be against the law on paper, plenty of punters manage to safely enjoy a flutter thanks to this loophole.
Kentucky Daily Fantasy Sports
Despite the tough stance on online gambling in Kentucky, you may be surprised to learn that Daily Fantasy Sports games are actually allowed. Local laws clearly state that games of skill are permitted and that is the basis for allowing DFS. There is clearly a skill element to such activities. As such, the local government has no problem with the likes of FanDuel, DraftKings and Yahoo Sports operating.
Casino Laws in Kentucky
Many have tried to push for the opening of casinos in the Bluegrass State, but all have failed. Bills usually suggest linking up casino gaming to the local horse racing tracks, but they never make it through the Senate.
However, several “racinos” have been created as a compromise. These racetracks are allowed to operate a limited number of slot machines. But a traditional casino as we know it doesn’t seem likely to open anywhere in Kentucky in the near future.
The online picture is no different, sadly. Most attempts to legalize casino gaming have centred on physical, bricks and mortar casino sites. But even if they had passed, the online casino situation would not really have been properly addressed. More than likely, Kentucky online casinos would remain in a legal limbo, with offshore operators continuing to exploit the grey area.
Land Based Casinos in KY
As we have already established, there are no legal casinos anywhere in KY. However, the state’s racecourses are allowed to offer slots and historical horse racing machines, in what have been dubbed “racinos”. Further, Kentucky has a handful of venues which provide horse racing simulcasts alongside slot machines. So while there are no proper casinos in the state, this is as close to the real thing as Kentucky residents can enjoy.
Here’s a complete list of KY racinos:
- Churchill Downs
- Ellis Park
- Kentucky Downs
- Newport Racing and Gaming
- Red Mile
- Turfway Park
Kentucky Gambling Tax
There is a flat 5% tax on all gambling profits in the Bluegrass State. Winnings under $5,000 are exempt from taxation, while profits from slots, keno and bingo are usually excluded too. Since 2019, residents are allowed to subtract any gambling losses when submitting their tax returns.
Best Kentucky Sportsbooks Reviewed
Let’s now take a more detailed look at our top five online sportsbooks for Kentucky-based sports bettors.
1. BetOnline – Best overall Kentucky sports betting site
The clear number one betting site for KY punters is BetOnline. With a choice of more than 20 different sports, you’ll never be short of action. But the jewel in this bookmaker’s crown is undoubtedly their American Football product. They are one of the best NFL sportsbooks in the business, with generous odds and a good selection of prop bets.
Whether you’re a fan of Kentucky sports betting, horse racing, poker or even esports, there’s something for you at BetOnline. And with a full betting licence and a trusted reputation for security, you can play with real confidence. There’s also a wide range of different promotions for both new and existing customers.
Speaking of which, the signup bonus at this online bookmaker is extremely generous. New players can use the BetOnline promo code BOL1000 to collect a 50% match bonus worth as much as $1,000. There’s a 10x wagering requirement attached, which is perfectly reasonable. In fact you’ll struggle to find too many better registration bonuses out there.
- Extremely generous welcome offer
- Some of the best odds around across a wide variety of sports and markets
- 24/7 customer support
- Cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals accepted
- No e-wallets available, such as PayPal or Neteller
2. XBet – Relatively new site for Kentucky sports betting fans
This online betting site may be comparatively new, but it’s already carving out a strong reputation with bettors. That’s largely down to the great selection of betting markets across multiple sports, plus the generous odds. But there’s plenty more to XBet than just betting opportunities.
The website benefits from a clean, minimalist design, making it extremely easy to navigate, both on mobile and desktop. The withdrawal limits are reasonable and your payouts will be with you in double quick time. Customer support is on hand 24/7 and you’ll find the team to be extremely helpful and friendly. And there’s even a casino to enjoy, if that’s your thing.
Finally, a word about the welcome bonus at XBet. It’s not the biggest out there, but a 100% deposit match of up to $500 is still not to be sniffed at. And the 7x wagering requirement is somewhat on the low side, too. Register today and use the XBet promo code XB100 to qualify.
- More than just a sports betting site, with casino and racebook too
- Plenty of ongoing promotions for existing players
- Generous odds and competitive lines, especially on basketball
- Professional support team available around the clock
- We’ve seen bigger welcome bonuses
3. Bovada – Respected Kentucky sports betting brand
This well-established online betting brand has been operational since 2000 and has earned a strong reputation around the world. The site is well designed, with an intuitive user interface for desktop, mobile and tablet devices. It offers plenty of betting lines from top sports across the globe, not to mention the latest security features too. So it’s not hard to see why punters enjoy it so much.
However, it’s crypto betting enthusiasts that will really love Bovada. There are all kinds of attractive bonuses available for both new and existing customers. But as if they weren’t already generous enough, most of them can be boosted simply by using Bitcoin. And of course, this particular payment method really speeds up those payout times.
If you want to join Bovada, do so using the Bovada promo code BTCSWB750. That way, you can capitalize on a 75% welcome offer worth up to $350. The rollover requirement attached to this offer is a very player-friendly 5x. So don’t miss out!
- Vast array of promotions and bonus offers
- Minimum bets are low, making betting accessible to all
- Known for in-play betting and live streaming
- Crypto-friendly sportsbook
- No live support option
4. MyBookie – Classy all-round betting site with Refer a Friend bonus
Whatever your game, whether you love the NFL, NHL or the legendary Kentucky Derby, there’s something for all sports bettors at MyBookie. With a strong reputation for site security and responsible gambling, the bookmaker is fast becoming one of most beloved betting sites in the USA.
The choice of sports betting lines is vast, but it’s the American Football product which really stands out at MyBookie. That said, the site is something of a one stop shop for all fans of wagering. You’ll find a complete horse racing product, casino and even esports markets available to enjoy. And the site’s slick and intuitive interface makes it extremely easy to get around.
New MyBookie accounts can take advantage of a welcome bonus worth up to $1,000 (10x turnover requirement). Simply make your first deposit using the MyBookie promo code MYB100 and pick up a 100% match bonus. Enjoy!
- Loads of great offers including a generous friend referral bonus
- Full racebook with generous odds on the best races
- Known to take responsible gambling extremely seriously
- Wide choice of lines of US sports, specifically NFL and NBA markets
- Additional esports markets would be nice
5. BetUS – Best Kentucky Derby sports betting site
This bookmaker claims to be the nation’s favorite for more than 25 years. It’s a bold claim, but we can certainly see why this might be the case. Another complete wagering site, with sportsbook, full racebook, casino and plenty of live streaming options, BetUS also offers an intuitive site layout. Not only is it easy on the eye and simple to navigate, but pages load quickly too.
Another perk of playing with BetUS is the site’s top-notch customer support team. Known for their friendly and professional approach, they can be contacted 24/7. BetUS also provides one of the better loyalty programs to frequent players, not to mention a strong selection of ongoing promotions for both new and existing players.
The 125% deposit match welcome offer is right up there among the very best signup bonuses online. Deposit using the BetUS promo code JOIN125 to bag that particular deal. But if you’re a fan of cryptocurrency, make your first deposit with Bitcoin instead. If you do, you can further boost that welcome bonus to a whopping 150%, with a casino offer thrown in too. Check it out for yourself today.
- Flexible selection of welcome offers
- A terrific loyalty rewards programs
- Lots of regular competitions offering real money prizes
- Well respected brand for over 25 years
- Would benefit from some additional payment methods
Kentucky Betting Sites Compared
Here’s a quick recap of the best Kentucky sports betting sites to be found online. The following table compares the key components of each site at-a-glance, including the sportsbooks promo codes, to help you make the best possible choice about where to bet.
|Kentucky Sportsbook||Welcome Bonus||Promo Code||Number of Sports||Live Streaming||Payment Methods|
|BetOnline||50% deposit match up to $1,000||BOL1000||20||No||Credit card, debit card, wire transfer, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin|
|XBet||100% deposit match up to $500||XB100||21||No||Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin|
|Bovada||100% Bitcoin deposit match up to $750||BTCSWB750||22||Yes||Credit card, debit card, Zelle, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin|
|MyBookie||100% deposit match up to $1,000||MYB100||18||No||Credit card, debit card, wire transfer, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin|
|BetUS||125% deposit match up to $2,500||JOIN125||22||No||Credit card, bank wire, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin|
|Everygame||200% deposit match up to $200||WELCOME2EG||17||No||Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Skrill, Neteller, Litecoin, Paysafe|
|SportsBetting.ag||50% deposit match up to $1,000||SB1000||16||No||Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple|
|BetNow||100% deposit match up to $500||BN100||10||No||Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash|
|MYB||100% deposit match up to $1,000||MYB100||18||No||Credit card, debit card, wire transfer, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin|
|GT Bets||100% deposit match up to $500||BOS50||18||No||Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple|
|BUSR||20% deposit match up to $500||WELCOME20||17||No||Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Litecoin|
How to Bet on Sports in Kentucky
If you’ve come this far, you’re probably itching to get started. But if you’re not confident in how to set up an account with a Kentucky sports betting site, simply follow the below steps. We’ll use BetOnline as the guide, but most online bookmakers follow the same process. So here goes!
Step 1: Visit your chosen bookie
Pick out one of our recommended betting sites and navigate to the site through our links. That way, you’ll be sure the site is genuine, rather than a scam. Find the button to begin the signup process, which will say “Join” or “Register” or similar and click it.
Step 2: Fill in the form
Once you click the button, you’ll be presented with a simple registration form. Fill out your essential information, such as date of birth, email address and full name. The process will be over in just a few minutes.
Step 3: Verify your email address
The majority of betting sites today require you to verify your contact information for security purposes. So open your inbox and find the welcome email from your bookmaker. Just follow the instructions found within. There is usually a validation URL to click on.
Step 4: Make your first deposit
Once your account is validated, you’ll need to load it with some funds. Visit the site’s cashier and choose your preferred payment method. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to complete the deposit. Don’t forget to use any relevant promo codes to qualify for your bonus.
Step 5: Place your first bet
That’s it, you’re all done! All that remains is to browse through the available betting opportunities and strike that first bet. You can navigate through the various markets by using the menu on the left of the screen. Pick out your selections and they’ll appear in your betslip. Have fun and remember to bet responsibly.
That’s it, you’ve reached the end of our complete guide to Kentucky sports betting. We hope that you’ve learned a thing or two and that we have been able to address all of your concerns. We’ve discussed the legal status of sportsbooks in KY, taxation and of course, we shared our top-rated bookmakers with you.
If you’re up for placing a few bets after reading this article, give BetOnline a whirl. The site is rapidly becoming a firm favorite with punters in the Bluegrass State and you could join those ranks. Sign up with the promo code BOL1000 and bag yourself a new customer welcome bonus worth up to $1,000. Good luck!