Gambling in Kentucky
Kentucky is the mecca of horse racing. The quality and the quantity of horses being bred in the state are the superlative compared to other states. The Kentucky Derby is well-known even outside the country because of its fast-paced races and superstar horses. Outside of the derby, though, other forms of gambling is strictly illegal.
By 1988, a majority of the voters made known of their interest in a statewide lottery system. In 1989 residents got their wish; and they have been betting over Powerball, 3 line lotto, and some pull tabs. Even though its neighboring states have allowed casino gaming, the local legislature remains steadfast about putting up Vegas-style establishments in the state.
Though the operation of casinos is illegal in the state, owning slot machines are permitted. Unlike other states that only allow antique models to be owned, Kentucky residents may own newer models, provided that it will not be used to make a profit. Another exception is the operation of charitable gaming. Games like raffles, bingo, and game tickets can be maintained by nonprofit organization as long the proceeds of the event goes to charity.
Kentucky law defines gambling as placing something of value on an outcome of game that involves chance, where it is agreed by everyone that based on a specific outcome a reward or prize will be given. Because horse racing has been a signature of the state for more than 200 years, pari-mutuel wagering is an exception. Pari-mutuel basically constitutes gambling since there is still a bet involved based on an outcome that is controlled by the horses’ skill as equally as it is controlled by chance. There are currently around 8 race tracks in the state, the famous being the Churchill Downs in Louisville.
It is the same race track operators that are open to the idea of casinos in the state. Of course, they approve such an initiative as long as the race track operators themselves get first dibs on such casinos. In 1999, there was a proposal by the state governor to approve as many as fourteen casinos. The proposal was not welcomed by voters. Those who were against the arrival of casinos deplore the idea of gambling and its ill effects on the society, a fact that proponents refute by saying that gambling has been present in the state already.
Though there are a number of Indian tribes in Kentucky, none of them have used the recent Supreme Court rulings to establish casinos like what other tribes in other states have done. Internet gaming is a vague issue, as there is no expressed written law prohibiting such practice in the state. However, for those planning to do so must consult local authorities to avoid charges of illegal gambling.
Another way is to simply participate in social gambling wherein players equally agree on the terms of the game of chance, and he only wins the pot and nothing else. It is clearly mentioned that it becomes illegal when a person benefits from the game by way of fees, or when he invites other people to play or promote the gambling event.