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It’s complicated. A bill looking to legalize daily fantasy in Kentucky was torn up despite gaining a narrow win in a House vote; it did not receive the votes required to pass the Senate.
And yet DraftKings, FanDuel and others still offer Kentucky daily fantasy sports, and that’s because the government hasn’t actively outlawed it, either.
“The attorney general of New York one day just declared [daily fantasy] illegal in New York, and we don’t want that to happen here,” Rep. Adam Koenig said. “We wanted to be a legislative solution. We didn’t think that was going to happen, but it’s better off to do it this way and to make sure it’s legal.”
That means players can enjoy these games without fear of repercussions.
When you're watching sports in Kentucky, you can't legally bet on football, baseball, basketball or any other sport, for that matter, except for horse racing. All of the state's big-name racetracks take bets on their races, and a few—such as Churchill Downs—have set up their own websites to allow gamblers to bet on the races from their smartphones and tablets in real time while sitting trackside.
Hopes are that the 2019 bill attracts plenty of support to change that, in which case Kentucky sports betting could become a reality within the next year or so.
The state's liberal approach to horse racing wagers contrasts its opposition to most other forms of betting. Operators who try to set up shop in the state have little to no chance because of the state's heavy-handed approach to protecting its existing licensed premises.
So Kentucky online casinos aren’t "a thing" and locals currently have no legal means to play their favorite casino games online.
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A least one aspect of the gambling infrastructure in Kentucky is thriving, with nine racinos (a racetrack-and-casino mash-up) offering more than 2,000 slots and game machines.
Most of these casinos comprise a part of world-famous racetracks, including Churchill Downs—host of the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks and more. Pari-mutuel horse race betting remains as popular as ever at these venues.
But that just hides the fact that Kentucky is a state where gambling is still largely frowned on. There are no dedicated stand-alone casinos or sports betting facilities, and only some "charitable" games where gambling is at the heart are allowed.
Kentucky revised statutes § 230.010 and § 528.010 cover sports betting and gambling, and they ultimately serve to prohibits betting in most of its forms within the state.
Online gambling in Kentucky has yet to really take hold. Back in 2008 some 140 domain names, which were either gambling operators or sites linked to betting, were seized by the state and named "gambling devices," which are strictly prohibited under state law. There are a small number of online operators in the Bluegrass State, but they are licensed and linked exclusively to the parimutuel betting industry that continues to thrive here.
Kentucky online gambling, on a wider scale, is still a pipe dream for locals. But help might be at hand. A bill will be presented to the 2019 legislative session that would legalize sports betting in the state at licensed premises, and while the details include a "prohibitive" tax rate for operators, there is hope that the proposals will gain plenty of support.
The stance in Kentucky has been largely anti-gambling, although the state’s love of horse racing continues to manifest itself in betting, albeit in limited forms, to this day.
Kentucky lawmakers push for sports betting during the 2019 session. The bill gained momentum from bipartisan supporters and is among the leading candidates to push Kentucky into the ranks of states with legal wagering.
A bill aimed at providing widespread slot gaming in locations around the state is shot down.
Further cases are made against PokerStars, Full Tilt, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet for alleged gambling offenses; the latter two are forcibly closed.
The state tries to close down 140 poker providers by seizing control of their domain names. The vast majority of these are returned to their rightful owners.
Laws relating to "gambling events" with a charitable aim—i.e., fund-raising bingo games and the like—are relaxed.
Lottery draws finally make their way to Kentucky, and the first games are held.
A motion to ban horse race betting is proposed; this is vetoed by the high court.
A number of illegal gambling establishments are set up, including the infamous Beverly Hills Supper Club.
Parimutuel betting on the horses becomes legal, as it remains to this day.
The inaugural Kentucky Derby is held.
DISCLAIMER: Online Wagering is illegal in some Jurisdictions. It is your responsibility to check your local regulations before playing online. GDC Trading Ltd takes no responsibility for your actions.
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