Legal Online Poker For Kentucky Residents

Long story short, poker is legal in Kentucky, provided certain conditions are met. While the state usually takes an anti-gambling stance, authorities are generally easy on poker players. This website will show you some of the legal facts about playing poker in Kentucky.

Is Poker Legal In Kentucky?


The state of Kentucky used to take an aggressive stance against online casino owners, including major players like FullTiltPoker and PokerStars. While their action wasn't a total success, they managed to take down several small casinos back in 2008. Nevertheless, there is no history of authorities going after poker players, nor are there any laws forbidding you to wager your money online. We could safely say that, for now, Kentucky residents may play poker online.

Legal Online Poker Sites For Kentucky Residents

Kentucky residents can play poker at most of the major online poker sites. Here are our top picks.


BetOnline Poker - Best Online Poker Site Accepting Kentucky Residents

In Kentucky, many people have found themselves out of the frying pan and into the fire with the struggling economy. Throughout the U.S. everyone is finding themselves in a tight spot but resourceful residents of Kentucky are finding a lucrative and fun way to get back a little of what they have lost in the form of BetOnline. This legal online poker site for Kentucky residents has been providing the U.S. with great poker for more than 10 years. They understand that times are tough and welcome everyone with open arms and a big fat welcome bonus.

Even the most downtrodden residents of Kentucky will be glad to hear that there is a 200% first deposit match available at BetOnline to anyone who joins the site. This means that as long as new players stay active by playing games or playing in any of the dozens of guaranteed tournaments each week, then they will get double their deposit bonus put back into their account. This will help any Kentucky resident that is down in the dumps get a second wind that can carry them to a steady bankroll.

SportsBetting Poker - Poker Bonuses Available On Each And Every Deposit

Kentucky players looking for a site that has more bang for their buck want to go with SportsBetting. While it may not sound like the most ideal poker room on the web there is no better site for good guaranteed tournaments than SportsBetting. Having been in operation for more than a decade SportsBetting knows a thing or two about online poker.

Each week SportsBetting has dozens of guaranteed tournaments that help users really rake in the dough. It is speculated that in total more than $250,000 dollars in guaranteed tournaments are held each week. This of course doesn’t even include the special seasonal tournaments that boast pools of $15,000 and even higher. That doesn’t mean their normal tournaments are small fries as each weekend SportsBetting offers two $10,000 dollar guaranteed tournaments for the poker aces on their site.

Kentucky Poker Laws

Organizing a friendly round of poker at home with your friends is allowed, provided you are not making a profit from it. This law goes in line with what most states deal with home gambling: you are not allowed to rake the pot or charge players for sitting in. Should you be found guilty of doing this, you are committing a Class A misdemeanor and, if you earn more than $500 from such an activity in one day, you may even be Class D felony.

Just to be on the safe side, do not host poker games for profit. This also means that you, as the host, shouldn't accept any gifts from your guests whatsoever – as difficult and absurd as it may seem, do not accept beverages and snacks from your friends, but rather offer to pay for your share.

Kentucky doesn't condone organized gambling altogether, so if you are running a game of poker and trying to make a profit then you are breaking the law. In other words, you are unlikely to find poker rooms in licensed casinos.

However, there are some charitable organizations that operate under slightly different rules. As an exception, a handful of other forms of gambling, like horse track betting, are fully legalized and have been operating for a long time.


Is Land Based Poker Legal in Kentucky?

Kentucky paints the picture of a gambling paradise.  With the very mention of the state bringing to mind a furious race track rife with powerful thoroughbreds and the clinking of ice cubes mingling with crushed mint leaves, Kentucky is obviously the place to go for exciting, high stakes.

Unless, unfortunately, a resident of Kentucky wants to do anything besides best on horse racing.  If a resident happens to be a big fan of poker, they may very well find themselves fast out of options for legally playing the game they love for money.

The state of Kentucky has a hard ban on all gambling, and while exemptions for horse racing are explicitly written into the law, there is no such luck when it comes to playing poker.  Although many avid players have lobbied for poker to be defined as a game of skill (the betting on of which Kentucky law allows) and not a game of chance, it has yet to result in the opening of any legal poker rooms in Kentucky.

However, this has led to lax policy in the policing of private poker games.  Although one who hosts a game for profit would still be culpable (meaning one who hosts a private poker game and collects profits by either collecting “rake,” which is a percentage of every pot awarded to the house or charging admission to the game that will not be distributed as winnings) it would not be illegal to participate or even host a private game in which no profits would be collected.  This may still limit options more than any Kentucky poker player is sure to like, it at least allows a little wiggle room.

Where to Play Poker in Kentucky

Unfortunately, there are no legally operating poker rooms in the state of Kentucky.  While it would be instinctive for one to believe that there would at least be a poker room, or event or two attached to the Kentucky Derby, this is not the case.

With no options for Kentucky residents to play games for high or low stakes in casinos, this limits them to private games amongst friends, to which there are both negatives and positives.

Firstly, it cannot be overstated how much fun it can be for Kentucky residents to host games for their friends.  In addition to being a completely legal evening of fun, it can be a great excuse for old friends to get together, or to help a new guy in the office get acclimated to his new co-workers. On the other hand, it’s extremely rare games of this nature will offer high payouts.  Triple digit losses in a game of poker are a greater stress than most friendships can bear, and none should be asked to.

However, if one lives in Kentucky, small, private games are their only option if they want to stay safe, legitimate, and out of state courts, at least for now.  Many poker fans in Kentucky will surely be keeping their fingers crossed for new legislation soon.

Note: As a final note, please keep in mind that the information presented on this website shouldn't in any way be taken as legal advice. We are a group of poker players who wanted to straighten out some facts about the legality of playing poker in Kentucky. However, if you want further information or are unsure of the facts presented, you are highly advised to contact a lawyer.

All online poker players from the Bluegrass State are welcome to come and gamble with Bovada. Whenever you want, you are going to be able to find an online poker game at Bovada. This is great news for those that love to play and it doesn't matter when. Bovada has tons of tournaments and attractive bonus offers. We recommend Bovada for all Kentucky residents that want to play safe, legal online poker in Kentucky.