Kentucky Casinos – Best Places to Gamble in KY

There are currently no commercial or tribal casinos in Kentucky. However, there are a few racetracks, and some of them offer casino-like games.

Related reading: Kentucky online casinos

Reviews of the Top Casinos in Kentucky

Churchill Downs (CDI) – Louisville

Phone: (502) 636-4400

Address: 600 N. Hurstbourne Parkway, Louisville, KY 40222

Opening hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Churchill Downs is a thoroughbred racetrack and casino located in Louisville, Kentucky. The racetrack opened in 1875 and has hosted the Kentucky Derby, the premier event of the U.S. horse racing calendar, every year since then.

In addition to horse racing, Churchill Downs has a casino with various electronic table games such as blackjack, craps, and roulette, as well as slot machines. They also offer sports betting, both in-person and online through their BetAmerica platform.

The facility is quite large, with multiple floors and an outdoor area. The casino was renovated in 2019 to include more gaming options and a sports bar with large-screen TVs.

Churchill Downs does not have an on-site hotel, but there are many nearby accommodations in Louisville. The venue has several dining options, including a steakhouse, a sports bar, and a food court with a variety of quick bites.

Kentucky Downs – Franklin

Phone: (270) 586-7778

Address: 5629 Nashville Rd, Franklin, KY 42134

Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday 9am-3am, Friday-Saturday 9am-4am

Kentucky Downs is a gaming facility in Franklin, Kentucky that features a horse racing track and Instant Racing electronic gaming machines. The venue opened in 1990 and has since undergone several expansions. Kentucky Downs has a total gaming floor of over 90,000 square feet with more than 750 electronic gaming machines available for players. The machines are known as Instant Racing machines, which allow players to bet on the outcome of previously run horse races.

In terms of dining, Kentucky Downs offers a variety of options including a full-service restaurant and a casual dining area. The restaurant serves classic American fare, while the casual dining area offers grab-and-go options like pizza and sandwiches. Kentucky Downs does not have an on-site hotel, but there are several accommodations available in the surrounding area.

Kentucky Downs also offers a VIP lounge for guests who want to enjoy exclusive perks like a private bar and lounge seating. The facility is open year-round, with live horse racing taking place during the summer months.

Red Mile Gaming & Racing – Lexington

Phone: (859) 255-0752

Address: 1200 Red Mile Rd, Lexington, KY 40504

Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday 9am-3am, Friday-Saturday 9am-4am

Red Mile Gaming & Racing is a casino and horse racing track located in Lexington, Kentucky. It is owned by the Keeneland Association and operated in partnership with Delaware North. The casino features a variety of slot machines and electronic table games. The venue also offers simulcast wagering on horse and dog racing from around the country.

The casino area of Red Mile Gaming & Racing is approximately 40,000 square feet, and it opened in 2015 after a major renovation and expansion of the facility. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and there is no admission fee to enter. The minimum age for gambling at Red Mile Gaming & Racing is 21.

In addition to the gaming offerings, Red Mile Gaming & Racing also has a restaurant and bar on site, which serves up a variety of food and drink options. The restaurant features a menu of classic American fare, including burgers, sandwiches, salads, and entrees like steak and seafood. There is also a bar that serves beer, wine, and cocktails.

Red Mile Gaming & Racing is located at 1200 Red Mile Road in Lexington, Kentucky. The facility is easily accessible from nearby highways and there is plenty of free parking available on site. In addition to the casino and racing track, Red Mile Gaming & Racing also hosts various events and promotions throughout the year, such as concerts, giveaways, and special holiday events.

Kentucky Gambling Revenues

Gambling revenues in Kentucky come from various forms of gambling, including historical horse racing and the state lottery. In 2020, the state’s gambling revenues reached $1.7 billion. Of that, the Kentucky Lottery accounted for $1.1 billion, historical horse racing accounted for $475 million, and casinos accounted for $150 million.

The majority of the revenue generated from gambling goes to the state. In fact, the Kentucky Constitution requires that at least 50% of all lottery revenues go to the state’s General Fund. The remaining revenue goes towards various programs and initiatives, such as education, health and human services, and infrastructure. Additionally, a portion of the revenue generated from historical horse racing goes to support the state’s horse racing industry.

It’s important to note that while gambling revenues provide a significant source of funding for the state, they also come with social costs. Gambling addiction can lead to financial difficulties, mental health problems, and strained relationships. That’s why it’s crucial to gamble responsibly and seek help if needed.

Overall, gambling revenues play a significant role in Kentucky’s economy and the funding of important state programs. As a responsible gambler, you can help ensure that these revenues continue to benefit the state and its residents.

Indian Gaming Tribes in Kentucky

There are currently no federally recognized tribes in the state. This means that there are no tribal lands or reservations where gaming could be authorized.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, based in North Carolina, has expressed interest in opening a casino in Kentucky, but state law prohibits any tribe from operating a casino on non-tribal land. This has led to several legal battles over the years between the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the state of Kentucky.

Despite the lack of federally recognized tribes, there are some Indian gaming tribes operating in Kentucky. These tribes operate under state law, which allows non-federally recognized tribes to offer certain types of gaming on their lands. However, the scope of these operations is limited compared to what federally recognized tribes are permitted to do.

The most well-known Indian gaming tribe in Kentucky is the Kentucky River Community Care. This tribe operates a small casino in Perry County, offering electronic bingo and other games. The casino has been the subject of several legal disputes over the years, with the state arguing that the tribe does not have the right to offer the types of games that it does.

Indian gaming tribes in Kentucky:

Note: This is the only Indian gaming tribe in Kentucky, and it is not federally recognized.

A History of Gambling in Kentucky

Gambling has a long and rich history in Kentucky, dating back to the state’s early years. In fact, it’s said that even Abraham Lincoln was a regular gambler during his time in Kentucky. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that gambling was legalized in the state.

In 1988, the Kentucky Lottery was established, allowing residents to participate in various games such as scratch-off tickets and Powerball. Today, the Kentucky Lottery generates over $1 billion in revenue annually, with the majority of the funds going towards education initiatives.

In 1989, the Kentucky Racing Commission approved the use of historical horse racing machines, which allowed bettors to wager on previously run horse races using electronic machines. Historical horse racing quickly became a popular form of gambling in the state, and today, there are over 5,000 historical horse racing machines in operation across Kentucky.

In 1992, Kentucky lawmakers approved a bill to allow riverboat casinos to operate in the state. The first riverboat casino, The Belle of Louisville, opened in 1994. However, the riverboat casino industry in Kentucky was short-lived, as the state Supreme Court ruled in 1998 that riverboat casinos were unconstitutional.

After the demise of the riverboat casinos, Kentucky turned its attention to horse racing. The state’s horse racing industry is considered one of the best in the world, with the annual Kentucky Derby drawing in over 150,000 spectators and generating over $300 million in revenue for the state.

In 2011, Kentucky lawmakers once again turned their attention to gambling, passing a bill to allow casino-style gambling at horse racing tracks. Today, there are several horse racing tracks in Kentucky that offer casino-style gambling, including Churchill Downs, Keeneland, and Turfway Park.

Despite the legalization of various forms of gambling in Kentucky, the state has a long-standing history of being conservative when it comes to gambling laws. For example, there are still no commercial casinos in the state, and lawmakers have been hesitant to expand gambling in recent years.

Overall, gambling has played a significant role in Kentucky’s history and economy, from the state lottery to the horse racing industry. While the state has seen its fair share of ups and downs when it comes to gambling laws, it’s clear that the industry is here to stay. As a responsible gambler, it’s important to stay informed on the laws and regulations surrounding gambling in Kentucky and to gamble within your means.

Gambling Taxes in Kentucky

All gambling winnings are subject to state income tax, regardless of the amount won. The state tax rate on gambling winnings is 5%, and it applies to all forms of gambling, including casino gaming, horse race betting, and the state lottery.

To report your gambling winnings to the state of Kentucky, you’ll need to fill out Form 740-NP, the Kentucky Nonresident Income Tax Return. This form is used to report any income earned in Kentucky, including gambling winnings. If you’re a nonresident of Kentucky, you’ll only need to report gambling winnings earned within the state.

It’s important to keep in mind that some gambling establishments, such as casinos, may also withhold a portion of your winnings for federal taxes. In these cases, you’ll receive a W-2G form that shows the amount withheld. You’ll need to report this amount on your tax return, but you can also claim a credit for any taxes paid to other states.

If you’re unsure about how to report your gambling winnings or how much you’ll owe in taxes, it’s a good idea to seek out the advice of a qualified tax professional. They can help you understand your tax obligations and ensure that you’re in compliance with state and federal tax laws.

In summary, Kentucky residents and non-residents alike are subject to state income tax on gambling winnings earned within the state. The state tax rate on gambling winnings is 5%, and you’ll need to report your winnings on the Kentucky Nonresident Income Tax Return if you’re a nonresident. If you have any questions about your tax obligations, don’t hesitate to consult with a tax professional.

Kentucky Gambling FAQ

How much can you win at Kentucky casinos before being taxed?

Any gambling winnings above $600 are subject to federal income tax in the United States, including in Kentucky. In addition, Kentucky law requires that all gambling winnings be reported as income on your state tax return. However, it’s important to note that you may be able to deduct gambling losses from your taxes as well.

How to ban yourself from casinos in Kentucky?

If you’re concerned about problem gambling, you may want to consider self-exclusion from Kentucky casinos. The Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling offers a self-exclusion program that allows individuals to voluntarily ban themselves from all Kentucky casinos. To enroll in the program, you can contact the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling or visit their website for more information.

Who regulates gambling in Kentucky?

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) is responsible for regulating all forms of gambling in the state, including horse racing, historical horse racing, and casino-style gambling at horse racing tracks. The KHRC is also responsible for issuing licenses and permits to gambling operators, as well as enforcing state and federal gambling laws.

What is the minimum gambling age in Kentucky?

The minimum gambling age in Kentucky is 18 for lottery games and horse racing. However, the minimum age for historical horse racing and casino-style gambling at horse racing tracks is 21. It’s important to note that gambling operators may also have their own age restrictions, so it’s always best to check with the specific establishment before gambling. Additionally, underage gambling is a serious offense and can result in fines, penalties, and even criminal charges.