Kentucky retail sports betting market goes live

8th September 2023 9:48 am GMT

Kentucky’s regulated sports betting market opened on Thursday with Governor Andy Beshear placing the first bet.

Governor Beshaer was at Churchill Downs to celebrate the launch of the market by placing a $20 parlay bet backing the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville football teams over North Carolina’s Duke University.

“Today is a great day to celebrate and have a little bit of fun doing so,” said Governor 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.”

The Governor then went on to Caesars’ new sportsbook at Red Mile Racing and Gaming in Lexington to place a second bet, while Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman was present at the opening of Northern Kentucky’s Turfway Park to bet $20 on the Cincinnati Bengals winning 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.”

Thursday’s launch of retail sports betting will be followed by the launch online wagering in Kentucky on September 28.

Mike Anderson, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack, said: “It is an honor 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,”

Commenting on the launch of the Caesars Sportsboook, Caesars Digital president Eric Hession said: “We’re proud to partner with Keeneland and Red Mile to bring in-person sports wagering to life in a way that honors the important legacy they hold in the Bluegrass State. Sports fans and horse racing fans should expect an experience that treats them like royalty, similar to what they’ve enjoyed at our world-class destinations in the region.”

The state of Kentucky will receive 9.75 per cent of the adjusted gross revenue from betting at licensed retail facilities, and 14.25 per cent of adjusted gross revenue on wagers placed online. This is expected to generate $23 million a year upon full implementation for the benefit of the Kentucky permanent pension fund, and to support oversight of the industry and programs to educate Kentuckians on safe gambling practices.

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