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Kentucky Gambling Laws

Horse racing, and putting a little money on a specific horse to win, is as much a part of the Bluegrass State as bluegrass itself. And who hasn’t hosted some buddies for a poker night or thrown $20 (or more) into an office March Madness pool, hoping the Wildcats win it all? Whether you’re at a betting window at Churchill Downs or in your office break room, Kentucky has gambling laws that cover all of these activities. This is a brief summary of gambling laws in Kentucky.

Gaming Law in Kentucky

Although many states have begun to relax state gaming statutes, to permit limited casinos and other gaming venues like card rooms, Kentucky’s gambling laws only allow some betting on horse racing. There are currently no full-fledged casinos in Kentucky, and only charitable games are permitted.

Kentucky Gambling Statutes

The table below highlights the specifics of Kentucky’s gambling statutes.

Code Section

Kentucky Revised Statutes 230.010, et seq.: Horse Racing and Showing;

Kentucky Revised Statutes 528.010, et seq.: Gambling


Staking or risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest or game based upon an element of chance.

Horse Racing/Off-Track Betting

Horse running, trotting and pacing races; harness races; off-track interstate wagering legal. Pari-mutuel wagering only.

Dog Racing/Off-Track Betting

Not specified.

Casinos Allowed?

Casinos and gambling establishments illegal.

Other Kinds of Gambling-Related Activities Allowed or Banned

Bookmaking; organizing or promoting gambling; possessing gambling records and devices banned. Charitable gaming allowed.

A state’s gambling and gaming laws can cover everything from racetracks and casinos to state lotteries and election wagers. State laws also regulate industry practices like licensing employees and regulating the games and finances. For example, Kentucky has strict controls on how horses are entered into races, and has specific funds set up for track and race improvement. Many states also separate casinos and racetracks from schools and residential areas through strict zoning ordinances. While federal law regulates all gambling establishments on Indian reservations by way of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Kentucky has no casinos, Native American-owned or otherwise.

Kentucky Gambling Laws: Related Resources

State gaming and gambling statutes can vary based on where you live, and regulate many different in-state activities. You can contact a Kentucky gaming law attorney in your area if you would like legal advice regarding a gaming matter. You can also visit FindLaw’s Gaming Law section for additional articles and information on this topic.

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