Check out our list of the best online casino sites in Kentucky below, as well as everything you need to know about the gambling legislature within Kentucky. You can also find our list of the best Kentucky sportsbooks here.
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There are a number of Kentucky online casinos available to residents. When looking to play at online casinos in Kentucky, there are several common elements you need to look for in casinos. It’s easy to misjudge a casino based on looks, so you should take the extra time to do a bit of research beforehand. This is even more relevant for online casinos in Kentucky, as the vast majority of them are offshore casino operators.
It’s definitely not bad for a casino to hold an offshore license, but you should bear in mind it protects US players less if they’re not careful at which casino they’re playing. It’s even more vital if you want to play with real money versus playing at a social casino. A social casino refers to a free casino that one can’t play with real money. Many US-based casinos are in fact social casinos and are available in most states.
This article will talk about the history of online gambling in Kentucky, as well as the common elements all of the best online casinos have. It will tell you what to look out for, but also how to choose the best Kentucky online casino for you, based on what you’re looking for.
Gambling Legislation In The US
To understand how Kentucky gambling laws developed, it’s important to understand the federal law surrounding gambling. Until 2018 when it was declared unconstitutional, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act passed in 1992 made sports betting illegal in the USA. However, there were a few states that this law didn’t apply to. Kentucky was one of these exceptions when it came to its racetracks. Since 1875, when the Kentucky Derby was first held, the state has been almost exclusively known for horse racing.
The other federal laws that still impact today are the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, which banned interstate sports betting and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. The UIGEA banned any financial transactions related to online gambling providers, forcing many offshore licensed casinos to ban American players from their platforms.
Gambling In Kentucky
With Kentucky being widely known for its horse racing, other forms of gambling never had as big a presence in this particular state. After the first Kentucky Derby in 1875, it wasn’t until 1920 that Pari-mutuel betting was allowed but the first attempt to ban racebooks occurred in 1931. This attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, and racehorse betting continued. In 1988, the state lottery was allowed for the first time, years after other states had legalized it, with bingo following suit in 1992. This just shows the monopoly race tracks held on gambling in the state.
In 2008, over 140 casino websites were shut down by the state as part of the overall seizure across the USA of unlicensed online poker sites. In 2011 and 2016, there were attempts to pass bills that allowed slots and land-based casinos to be built, but strong opposition from the racetracks has made these attempts unsuccessful.
This leaves Kentucky residents with the option of visiting a racetrack to bet on horse racing or play the limited casino games available at the racetracks. Or, they can play at offshore licensed online casinos. Although land-based casinos are still not available in Kentucky and do not license any online casinos, there are multiple offshore online casinos available to Kentucky residents. While there is no Kentucky legislation against online gambling, the racetracks hold a strong monopoly over all forms of gambling, there has never been a serious need to change this.
With the casino games offered at racetracks being extremely limited, players have no other option than to turn to online casinos. Online casinos offer hundreds of games, including slots, roulette, blackjack, jackpots, live casino games, etc., for players to enjoy. But how do you know which online casino is the best to play at?
Requirements For The Best Online Casinos
What is the most important thing you need to look for when playing at online casinos? With Kentucky players only able to play at offshore licensed casinos, you need to ensure the licensing and fairness of the casino. It’s always best to play at a casino that provides good customer support as well as a wide selection of games. If you’re looking to play for real money at a casino, it’s even more crucial to determine what banking options are listed for Kentucky players.
If you break it down into six sections that you have to research before playing at a casino, it makes it easier to find the best Kentucky online casino.
Licensing and Security
The first thing to always ascertain is whether the casino is licensed or not. Licensed casinos state the licensing authority at the bottom of the website and the company that owns the online casino. If it’s not stated at the bottom of the website, you can often find it in the terms and conditions near the top. If an online casino doesn’t state who owns it or whether it’s licensed, it often means it’s not licensed. We advise you to look out for this red flag, as it could possibly leave Kentucky and other players vulnerable. There is no protection for players from unfair terms or unlawful actions, as there is no gambling regulation body.
The most well-known offshore licenses are the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, the Curacao eGaming license and the Gibraltar Gambling Commission. The Malta Gaming Authority and Kahnawake licenses are also good, with Panama and Costa Rica licenses falling right below. If a casino holds one of these licenses, the online casino is regulated by the appropriate gaming authority, ensuring the games and terms are fair for Kentucky players.
You can further ensure the casino’s security by looking if they use a testing agency. Testing agencies such as GLI, NMi or eCORGA test the fairness of the casino and its games as an impartial third party. It tests the RNG, which stands for Random Number Generator, that ensures the games aren’t rigged. It also tests the Return to Player (RTP).
While this might not be as big a factor as other elements, it makes a big difference depending on which type of player you are. Online casinos need to have a smooth and user-friendly website to ensure the best user experience. You’re looking for a Kentucky online casino that uses HTML5 and where both the games and website load quickly. It’s always best if there are navigation bars and a search tab. This allows you to find games easily. If they offer a game providers filter or a favorites tab, it’s even better, as it gives you more options when searching games.
Some of the best online casinos also have mobile apps that can be downloaded from the App Store or the Google Play Store. However, with offshore licensed casinos being international casinos, they often won’t have an app available on the App Store or Google Play Store. Still, they might have one available on their website. Otherwise, many offer quick access software for your phone or desktop that allows you to bypass the browser. If there is no mobile app then you will usually be able to access the casino’s mobile site instead.
Playing at an online casino based offshore means you need to ensure it has good customer service. If something goes wrong or if you have any questions, customer service is your only line of support to try and solve the dispute or complaint. The best Kentucky online casinos offer 24/7 support in the form of a live chat, though they will also offer a support email. Finding a casino with a support number for Kentucky players is less likely and not the biggest requirement, as these casinos are based internationally and international toll fees will apply.
You need to test the live chat to see how fast they respond and how helpful they are. To protect yourself further, ensure the casino offers independent complaint submission. This doesn’t refer to the normal complaints sent to the support email, but rather if you need to report the casino. The best online casinos offer a link to the regulating body’s complaint form, which ensures players can contact an independent party if their disputes aren’t resolved.
With the UIGEA in place, many banks and card companies do not deal with online gambling service providers. This causes a problem for Kentucky players when playing with real money. You need to ensure what banking methods are available in Kentucky, as the casino might offer a wide range of banking methods, but only some are available in Kentucky. The best payment method for Kentucky players is PayPal. PayPal is a convenient middleman between card companies and online casinos.
However, very few offshore casinos offer PayPal as a payment method. E-wallets such as Skrill, Neteller, Jeton and AstroPay are generally offered. While it might be possible for Kentucky users to use these e-wallets depending on the casino, they need to make sure if the casino charges a commission fee, as the bank will likely already charge a transaction fee on these methods. Otherwise, they need to look for online banking options or cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and more have gained a massive presence on online gaming platforms. It’s becoming one of the more popular deposits and withdrawal methods, as it generally has no limits attached to most other payment methods.
The best online casino’s game selection often varies depending on what you are looking for. The best overall online casino will have a wide range of different games on the table, from slots and table games to live casinos and sports betting. Hundreds of game providers provide thousands of the best slot and casino games. An online casino that strives to become the best overall will focus equally on all casino games and offer games from top casino providers like IGT, Microgaming, and more.
However, if you’re looking for specific games, it’s best to look for casinos focusing on those games. This means if you want to play slots mostly, look for a casino that has a large slot offering. Alternatively, if you rather want to bet on sports, look for a casino that offers sports betting, eSports, virtual sports and fantasy sports.
Something all reputable casinos offer is bonuses. However, the type of bonus offered differs depending on the casino. While you should always look for a good bonus with fair terms, what that bonus consists of is once again up to you. Most welcome bonuses are a deposit match bonus, meaning if you deposit $10, you receive $10 or more in bonus cash. The casino bonus can range from 100% to 500% and sometimes span over the first five bonuses. Several casinos offer free spins together with the match bonus or signup no deposit bonus. These free spins can be used on certain games as stated in the casino’s bonus terms and generally are set to the lowest bet value of a game.
All bonuses have certain requirements and restrictions that you need to know. This includes wagering requirements, validity period, minimum deposit, max winnings, excluded games, etc. Wagering requirements can range between 1x and 50x, though it generally falls between 20x and 35x. This refers to the amount of time the bonus needs to be wagered before the winnings can be withdrawn.
A casino also needs to offer more bonuses than just the signup bonus. This includes cashback bonuses, loyalty or VIP programs, and other bonuses players can claim daily, weekly or even monthly. Being rewarded for your loyalty is a key incentive to return to the casino. Tournaments are also a big aspect of playing online, as players are connected with other players.
Is Online Gambling Illegal In Kentucky?
There are no specific laws surrounding online gambling specific to Kentucky. You will not face any trouble by playing online.
Are Online Casinos Permitted In Kentucky?
Online casinos are illegal in Kentucky if they’re based in Kentucky. However, this is only for the casino itself and doesn’t apply to playing online. As such, offshore casinos are legal to play at.
Can I Pay For Real Money At An Online Casino In Kentucky?
Yes, while there are social casinos, meaning free casinos available, most offshore casinos are real money casinos.
Best Online Casinos In Kentucky
So what does it mean to be one of the best Kentucky online casinos? If you keep the above six sections in mind, it’s easier to find a safe and secure casino to play at. The most important thing for Kentucky players is that they should enjoy themselves. The casino shouldn’t only comply with the above factors but should also be the right fit for you as a player. Whether you focus on slots, table games, live dealers games or sports betting, the casino should offer you the best experience possible. This can change depending on the look and feel of the casino, not just what it offers. While complying with the above sections, the best Kentucky online casinos are determined by you as a player and your experience.