Beshear makes first wager as sports betting legalized in Kentucky


Andy Beshear (D) made the state’s first wager at the famous Churchill Downs horse racetrack in Louisville. Andy Beshear (D) made the state’s first wager at the famous Churchill Downs horse racetrack in Louisville.

“Today is a great day to celebrate and have a little bit of fun doing so,” Beshear said as the Bluegrass State became the 35th to legalize betting on sports. It has taken years for sports betting to become 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.”

Beshear opened up the books by putting $20 each on the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky to beat their projected win totals this football season, and another $20 on Duke University’s football team from North Carolina to fall short of their win line.

The governor’s office said any of his winnings would go to the Louisville Sports Commission.

Betting on all sports is now allowed at participating horse racing tracks, and nine new locations throughout the state opened just in time for the kickoff of the first NFL game on Thursday night. Mobile betting is set to begin this month. Most of the funds will go towards public employee pensions.

Legalizing sports betting was a last-second move by Kentucky Republicans at the end of the legislative session in March. The bill gained bipartisan support as Beshear runs for reelection as governor this November.

His opponent, Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R), minimized Beshear’s achievement, celebrating sports betting legalization as an accomplishment of the state’s Republican legislature.

“The legislature deserves the credit for moving this ball down the field. Beshear is once again trying to claim credit for the victory, when all he has done was cheer on the sidelines,” Sean Southard said in a Cameron campaign statement. Beshear is the country’s most popular Democratic governor.

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