Kentucky is one of the most interesting and difficult states when looking at US-friendly real money online poker sites. In the past the state government has been antagonistic towards online sites, but has abated in recent years as Kentucky was able to get a portion of the money paid by PokerStars to the Department of Justice. Since that time Kentucky hasn’t tried to take any action against gambling sites and there are currently no state laws on the books making it illegal for players to play online poker. Because of their past history, some online card rooms decided not to offer their services to residents of Kentucky. Even after this change in the legal position, a few sites still stay out of the state completely.
Luckily, players in Kentucky still have a few different options when looking to play Internet poker in the US. Some sites have decided to not service this state, but many have decided to stay available to those players and the selection for players from Kentucky is not insignificant at all. This means that players can take advantage of fast payout times, good bonuses and great game selection despite external circumstances that do make things a bit more difficult than they need to be.
Ignition Poker, which is part of the Bodog Poker Network is a great option for players from Kentucky. New players can take great advantage of a generous deposit bonus of up to $2,000 ($1,000 max for poker, $1,000 max for casino). These deposit bonuses clear at the fastest rate of any US friendly poker site. Small depositors will note that their bonus clears at an astounding 100% rakeback equivalent. For the high rollers taking advantage of the full $1,000 bonus, it will clear at a 33.5% effective rate. Ignition also has some very easy tournaments and cash games, and boy do they have a lot of them. According to Pokerscout.com the 7-day rolling average for cash game players 1500 simultaneous players. If you add in the tournament and sit and go players, the numbers approach 10,000 players! Ignition also has a newly updated casino with a $1,000 initial bonus and unlimited $1,000 bitcoin reload bonuses available to KY-based players.
If you would like to start playing Ignition Poker from the comfort of your own home then you can follow this link to get the best deposit bonus offer available!
Chico Poker Network, headlined by BetOnline, has seen a fairly meteoric rise in its traffic over the past couple of months. This has made the network an intriguing possibility for many players as they offer good games, a Sit n’ Go leaderboard and many other promotions. While they don’t offer rakeback, players can take advantage of deposit and reload bonuses fairly regularly. This room is a good option for sit-n-go players and full ring cash game players as both are a fairly popular variant on the site. According to PokerScout.com the 7-day average is 450 players.
Chico Network also has a very good and active sportsbook, as well as an online casino option for players. Chico Network also offers great promotions for both the sportsbook and casino that allow players to easily supplement their win rates and take advantage of the quick withdrawals and payment processing available!
Grand Poker Network may be a new poker room, but their parent company has been around for a very long time. 5Dimes Group is one of the most trusted names in sports betting, and as such, their new poker room should be trusted without the fear that may come with newer, unproven sites. While the room is still growing, 50%+ rakeback and soft games are the hallmark of the room and it is a great opportunity for players to take advantage of.
On top of having access to everything that Winning Poker Network offers through its partnership with Grand Poker Network Kentucky residents will also have access to the world-renowned sports book on 5Dimes. 5Dimes makes it exceptionally easy to move money from your poker account to sportsbook or casino depending on what you want most and where you feel your greatest edge is. You will still have access to the bitcoin deposits and withdrawals offered through Grand Poker network, so this means some of the quickest and easiest funding of accounts can be yours exceptionally easily, as outlined in our awesome guide on how to setup these deposits and withdrawals. Grand Poker Network offers one of the premiere sportsbooks and casinos available to US-based players.
To become a member at 5Dimes and get access to their casino, sportbook and poker clients, follow the link provided here.
Winning Poker Network, which consists of America’s Cardroom, Black Chip Poker, PokerHost, and True Poker is the largest network available to players from Kentucky. Winning Poker Network has a full host of games running around the clock and features numerous innovative offerings that aren’t available on other US-friendly networks, such as huge rake races, Jackpot Poker and a clone of the award winning PokerStars VIP program. Winning Poker Network offers elite benefits which allows players to enjoy up to 65% effective rakeback, or a flat rakeback structure, with more casual players in mind, as well as many value-added promotions for cash games, tournament and sit-n-go players. Winning Poker Network is also a bitcoin friendly room, so players will be able to deposit and withdraw safely, quickly and effectively.. According to PokerScout.com the 7-day average is 500 players, making it the second largest site available to US players and largest to Kentucky based players.
If you would like to read a more in-depth explanation of all the great games you can find on Winning Poker Network which is made up of America's Cardroom, Black Chip Poker, PokerHost, True Poker and Ya Poker you should take a look at our reviews!
Players can expect no real difference in the payout times from Kentucky than the rest of the states chronicled in our report. Winning Poker Network, Grand Poker Network and Chico Poker Network all have bitcoin withdrawal options that make payouts exceptionally fast. Other methods are also rather fast, but do take longer than the bitcoin option, hence are rather strong recommendation that you utilize crypto-currency. However they may be easier for some players as there is less middle-man work to deal with those options. No matter your choice these sites provide easy and safe options for payouts.
Kentucky is more than a bit confusing when you start to really delve into the laws and how they apply to individual gamblers. The most obvious place to start is that there doesn’t appear to be any real penalties on the books for anyone who is caught gambling illegally. This is rather odd, as almost all states have some provision in their laws to prevent people from doing this. They do outlaw illegal gambling, of course, but they don’t do any more than define in a fairly basic and normal way. The definition they use is anyone putting something of value at stake based on the outcome of a game, contest, scheme or gaming device. Without any actual punishments though, it becomes more than a bit murky of what would actually happen.
Something to note though is that there are a fair number of steep penalties for those who “advance gambling activities,” and while this is generally going to fall into the realm of gambling operators, it’s not completely clear if they could be applied to individuals or not. It is unlikely a person would get brought up on charges like this, and to date, no one has been brought up on charges stemming from online gambling in Kentucky, at least from an individual perspective. This is rather impressive considering the state hasn’t been the most receptive to online poker.
This has been a fairly dicey state for most operators as Kentucky has shown in the past to not really tolerate online operators. This was most apparent when the state seized over 200 gambling domains. While this was eventually settled with nothing really happening and Kentucky backing off, for the most part, it still is a concern to some operators that it could happen again. The reason that the state was able to even get the ability to seize the domains in the first place was the law above that we discussed in terms of advancing illegal gambling activities.
Online sites have decided the best approach to take with Kentucky is to stay away for the most part. With that being said, there are still some great options for citizens of the state of Kentucky and there is a little less fear than previously with the state as the past few years have been rather quiet in terms of the government of Kentucky trying to squash online poker. As a result, getting payments to and from online sites from the state of Kentucky has been fairly easy and players from the state shouldn’t expect any differences.
This is an exceptionally tricky question to answer, because the obvious answer might not actually be the correct one. It might appear that Kentucky would stand very little chance of regulating online poker, because it has been aggressive with online sites in the past and the state’s population is pretty conservative, which are both exceptionally true. What this ignores though is that the horse tracks within the state might decide they want a piece of the pie. Churchill Downs, which is one of the most well-known horse tracks in the world has been active in the poker scene before with small behind the scenes purchases. If they decided to really put pressure on the state legislature to legalize online poker, it is possible that it could actually happen. While there is no indication that is going to happen right now, it’s not something that can be entirely discounted either.
Kentucky has limited land based gambling, but what is there is rather large. Pari-mutual betting is of course the most famous type of land based gambling available in Kentucky. Pari-mutual betting is the type of betting that the horse industry is based around and this is one of the most noteworthy things about Kentucky as every year hundreds of thousands converge on Churchill Downs for the running of the Kentucky Derby. Past this most obvious land based gambling, there is also a rather large state lottery and charitable gambling is also present within the state. Besides those types there is no legal gambling in Kentucky and the horse tracks do not feature full casinos, like they do in other states, which is important to note.
If Kentucky were to legalize online poker, or online gambling, it’s not immediately clear which companies would become the main operators in the state. Without land based casinos there would likely be an arms race to acquire a horse track to get a foothold in the state. Harrah’s and PokerStars would be the most obvious candidates to do something like this, with many others also trying to get their foot in the door. Churchill Downs would also attempt to use its famous name from horse racing to become a major player in the market. All of this is pure speculation though and the way in which the laws would be written would like determine who would become the largest operator in the state.
If you are lucky enough to have another address in a nearby state, be it your business address, summer home, second apartment, family home, etc, you may have other online poker options available to you. Here are a list of the states that border Kentucky and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. If you didn't find what you were looking for in that long list of nearby states, then go ahead and take a look at our Online Poker Guide that answers the question "Is Online Poker Legal?"
Unfortunately there is a lot of ignorance surrounding the current legal status of online poker. If you found this information helpful, please take a moment to share it with your friends and family so that, together, we can help keep the poker community alive and growing!