With a rich history of horse racing, the state of Kentucky up to this point has still taken a relatively conservative approach on other forms of gambling. While there are no traditional casinos in the state, there are facilities that offer slot-style machines for horse race betting called instant racing betting machines.
As brick and mortar casinos, online casinos, and sports betting continue to sweep across the country, however, legislation for gambling might soon be on its way to the Bluegrass State.
The state did take a step forward in 2023, legalizing Kentucky online sports betting which officially launched in September 2023, the first move forward in gambling legislation since the state lottery was introduced in 1989.
Focusing on one the state’s most iconic cities, let’s take a closer look at all things casinos in Lexington Kentucky.
Are there legal casinos in Lexington?
No, there are no legal casinos in the Lexington area, with the closest one being 78 miles west on Interstate 64 in Louisville, KY. While state legislation has not yet passed to allow for full-fledged casinos in Kentucky, there are some legal forms of gambling, all based around horse racing.
Are any casinos opening in Lexington soon?
No, there are currently no plans of casinos opening in Lexington soon, as the state legislator still works out plans to legalize the industry in the state of Kentucky.
Currently, the state permits gambling in Kentucky in the form of horse race betting at the tracks, video gaming centers, the Kentucky Lottery, and parimutuel off-track betting (OTB) facilities.
While some consider Indian casinos the path forward, the state’s two tribes, the Southern Cherokee Nation of Kentucky and the Ridgetop Shawnee Tribe of Indians, are not officially recognized tribes by the US government and so do not qualify under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
What kinds of games could you play at Lexington casinos?
While state legislators in Kentucky still figure out the best path forward for casinos in Lexington and beyond, there still are a few types of games you can play to get involved in the action. Let’s take a look at the kinds of games you could play at Lexington casinos and those throughout the Bluegrass State.