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US – Governor Beshear makes Kentucky’s first sports bet at Churchill Downs

By - 8 September 2023

September 7 marked the much-anticipated opening of in-person sports wagering in Kentucky, and Gov. Andy Beshear celebrated the historic moment by placing the first bet at Churchill Downs.

Gov. Beshear placed a $20 parlay bet for the over on wins for the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville football teams, and the under on Duke University’s football team.

“Today is a great day to celebrate and have a little bit of fun doing so,” said Gov. Beshear. “It has taken many years to get here, but sports wagering is finally a reality in Kentucky. This is a win-win for Kentuckians, who can enjoy a quality entertainment experience and benefit from funds staying right here in our state to help us build a better Kentucky.”

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman placed a bet at an opening event at Northern Kentucky’s Turfway Park, betting $20 on the Cincinnati Bengals to win the Super Bowl.

“Sports wagering will benefit all Kentuckians,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “It means more revenue for economic development, disaster relief and infrastructure projects, like new roads, bridges and clean water. It means more money for our public schools and support for the pensions of firefighters, public servants, teachers and law enforcement officers. Simply put, sports wagering is helping us build a better Kentucky for everyone.”

With college football already underway, the opening of retail sportsbooks comes just in time for the kickoff of the NFL season this weekend.

“It is an honour to host this historic first sports wager in the commonwealth at historic Churchill Downs. We are proud to offer Kentucky’s newest form of wagering entertainment to the hundreds of thousands of guests who enter our gates each year and to help facilitate the economic benefits that sports wagering will bring to Kentucky,” said Mike Anderson, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack.

“The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and the KHRC staff worked tirelessly to meet this challenge. The KHRC is dedicated to wagering integrity, and while we are celebrating today’s launch, our work continues,” said KHRC Chairman Jonathan Rabinowitz.

“Red Mile and Keeneland have prepared a premium space dedicated to sports wagering,” said Shannon Cobb, chief operating and financial officer of Red Mile Gaming & Racing. “We believe Caesars will provide excitement with their sports wagering product that exceeds expectations, and we are excited to invite the public out for the full experience. We hope guests will also take a moment to experience live harness racing, gaming and great food and beverage while they are with us.”

“Protecting Kentucky’s bettors is our number one priority, that and providing the best customer experience. Thanks to an extremely dedicated team, we are meeting those goals on an ambitious timeline,” said Public Protection Cabinet Secretary Ray Perry.

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