Governor Andy Beshear places first wager at Churchill Downs as sports wagering becomes legal in Kentucky

Following its legalization by the General Assembly earlier this year, sports wagering has officially arrived at licensed retail facilities across Kentucky, which means great news for the estate according to Governor Andy Beshear.

“This is entertainment,” Beshear said after making a $20 3-bets-parlay that included the “over” on season wins by two home-state college football teams (University of Kentucky and University of Louisville) and the “under” on season wins by Duke University’s football team, Kentucky’s arch-nemesis school.

“It’s what Kentuckians were looking for.” The governor continued. “It’s going to boost tourism. It’s going to make sure we don’t lose that many people to Vegas in the first couple rounds in the NCAA tournament.”

It is also worth mentioning that the proceeds generated from that ceremonial sports bet that the governor made at the track (if any, of course) will be contributed to the Louisville Sports Commission, as stated by officials.

After making the first bet at Churchill Downs, Beshear headed to the Red Mile, a well-known horse racing track located in Lexington, where he was joined by representatives of Caesars Sportsbook, Keeneland, and Red Mile Gaming & Racing, for a ribbon-cutting and ceremonial bet event for the grand opening of Caesars Sportsbook at Red Mile.

Other sports betting venues across the estate also commenced operations on Thursday as part of the initial rollout phase and will continue to do so as the rollout expands.

“Starting today, no Kentuckian will ever have to take their hard-earned money to another state just to place a sports bet,” Beshear added.

What it means for Kentuckians

The decision of legalizing sports betting in Kentucky is expected to produce approximately $23 million in annual revenue for the Bluegrass State, although some proponents anticipate even greater sums.

The majority of this revenue will be allocated to Kentucky’s public pension system, effectively ending the diversion of funds to other states where Kentucky residents previously used to place their sports wagers.

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