Kentucky State

In this article, we will explore more about the history of Kentucky, especially where online gambling is concerned, delving into why gamblers are probably better off playing at mobile social casinos, fun play casinos and Facebook casinos than gambling online. Let’s start with the state of Kentucky, how it all began and what it’s famous for, before we get into the legal side of things.

Kentucky was originally part of Virginia, but officially became a state in 1792 after residents started petitioning the Virginia legislature – in fact, it’s now one of four states that are constituted as a commonwealth (the other three being Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Virginia). Kentucky is also known as the Bluegrass State, due to the bluegrass (or meadow-grass) found in many of its pastures. As a result of this, Kentucky is also known for bluegrass music, as well as tobacco, horse racing, bourbon distilleries and, of course, Kentucky Fried Chicken. But for the purpose of this article, it’s the horse racing that will be most interesting, as it’s a form of betting and, because it’s well-known in Kentucky, you would think that betting on horse races is legal. Well, it is, but what other forms, besides fun play casinos, are legal? And, can players play free fun online slots from the comfort of their own homes? Let’s first take a look at the gambling laws, and history of gambling, of Kentucky.

Gambling Laws of Kentucky

Before the Internet took over, there were plenty of other ways to gamble, and in Kentucky it was no different. Due to lotteries being corrupt in the 1800s, the constitution of Kentucky was given anti-gambling wording, not making it specifically illegal, but wording it in such a way that players were kept on their toes. In those days, the only form of gambling that was actually legal was pari-mutuel betting on horse- and dog races. Due to Kentucky being the world centre of horse racing, it’s no surprise that one of the most prestigious, and well-known, races – the Kentucky Derby – has been going since 1875.

It was only in the 80s that gambling was extended beyond that of betting on horse racing, when the passing of the lottery act was successful in 1988. The State Lottery is still very popular today, with the profits going to good causes like education. Charity gambling games these days include pull-tabs, raffles and bingo. It is, however, the more recent history that is most interesting – in 2008, over 140 web domains dedicated to online gaming were seized by the State. These domains were known as “gambling devices” and the right of the State to seize them was questioned. Even though many were returned, legal action is still going on today. Because these were mainly ‘.com’ domains, many of the site operators chose alternative domains and carried on their business. Kentucky was very serious when it came to operators of gambling games, whether they are land-based casinos or online, but good news for players is that the rules have softened – in a court of law, you can simply use the fact that you were only a participant in the game as defence.

Here are some of the most important events in the history of gambling in Kentucky:

  • 1875: First running of the Kentucky Derby
  • 1931: A legal challenge to stop betting on horse racing failed
  • 1988: State Lottery was passed in a senate vote
  • 1989: The first draw of the State Lottery
  • 2008: Kentucky seized more than 140 ‘.com’ domains
  • 2010: Legal action taken against poker sites for offering illegal gambling
  • 2011: A bill to license slot games is voted against

Which Forms of Gambling are Legal?

With all the gambling laws in Kentucky, it’s probably safe to assume that you can still play free fun online slots at Facebook casinos or via mobile social casinos, but what exactly is legal and what is not? Let’s take a look at the forms of gambling:

  • Online Casinos/Land-Based Casinos: Online casinos are a definitive “no”, due to the seizing of web domains in 2008. There are no regulated casinos in Kentucky, but you can join a charitable casino night where minimal prizes are up for grabs for a good cause. Alternatively, you can visit casinos in Ohio or Indiana, join a riverboat casino, or find out more about how to play on Facebook casinos.
  • Poker: Home games seem to be tolerated as long as prizes are not awarded. As a player, you can’t really get into trouble, but you’ll find yourself in hot water as an organiser or if you profit from any of these games.
  • Online Poker: As with online casinos, due to the seizing of domains in 2008, online poker is illegal.
  • Sports Betting: Yes, this is legal in the state of Kentucky, mainly thanks to the Kentucky Derby that’s been going since 1875.
  • Lottery: The State Lottery is legal, as profits from this go to good causes like education. The purchasing of online lottery tickets may become legal soon, however, this is still just a rumour.
  • Bingo: Bingo, pull-tabs and raffles are legal as they are regulated and licensed by the state.


Unfortunately, the state of Kentucky is not very friendly when it comes to any form of gambling, except charity games and betting on horse racing. There are no regulated casinos in Kentucky, therefore players usually travel to the state of Indiana to visit popular casinos like French Lick, Hollywood Casino, Hoosier Park, Horseshoe, Majestic Star and Tropicana. Alternatively, there are almost a dozen riverboat casinos available, and a couple or racinos in Indiana.

The law, however, is a bit unclear when it comes to gambling for no profit, as it’s only when you make a profit that casino gambling is illegal. So, for players from Kentucky, there are also the options to play on mobile social casinos or fun play casinos. You can also find out how to play on Facebook casinos and enjoy free fun online slots via this platform instead. Next time that you’re in Kentucky, keep all this in mind, play it safe or simply enjoy some good old Kentucky Fried Chicken instead.