Kentucky Lawmakers Submit Bill to Legalize Online Poker In 2023

Last Updated on January 11, 2023 Author:Adrian Sterne


  • This marks the 5th consecutive year that online poker legalization is being pushed in the state
  • Kentucky will struggle to get online poker up and running in 2023
  • Kentucky should make a push to legalize online poker and join MSIGA

For the fifth time, legislation to legalize online poker has been put forward in Kentucky.

House Bill “HB106”, authored by Democrats Rachel Roberts, Derrick Graham and Cherlynn Stevenson, would allow the Blue Grass State’s five horse tracks to offer online poker, as well as sports betting.

Running online poker games would come with an initial license fee of $250,000, with the operators also required to pay additional annual fees of $10,000, plus 6.75% of their net poker revenue. Lawmakers have been pushing for gambling expansion in Kentucky since 2019.

Will Online Poker Be Approved In Kentucky?

While it’s great that the latest bill includes online poker, there’s no assurance that online poker will be offered in Kentucky, even if HB106 is eventually approved into law. This is mainly due to the state’s small population size.

Operators might be hesitant to launch their online poker rooms in the state given its relatively small market. It would be a huge risk for online poker giants like PokerStars to operate in a state that doesn’t have enough players to drive profits.

Supposing HB106 is enacted, Kentucky will likely join Connecticut and West Virginia as states where online poker is legal but without any active online poker site.

Kentucky May Join MSIGA

Kentucky still has a way to address the market size issue – if it decides to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) that allows operators in member states to merge their player pools. Michigan was recently accepted into the pact, joining New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.

Kentucky may follow in the footsteps of Delaware, a tiny state with a population of just over one million. Casinos there are offering online poker and are able to share player pools with that in New Jersey and Nevada via the network. All three casino and racetrack properties in the state – Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs – are using the 888poker software.

Kentucky may want to consider taking that path if it wants to establish an active online poker industry. For now though, poker fans in the state shouldn’t get too excited, as Kentucky has a history of turning down proposals to expand gambling.

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