The Kentucky governor who had pushed for the state to expand its legal gambling scene for years was among the first to enjoy the fruits of that labor on Thursday morning.
Beshear took part in opening festivities at Churchill Downs in Louisville as the track took its first-ever bets on human athletes. Similar events were happening around the state as other tracks also opened the era of regulated sports wagering in Kentucky.
Beshear ushers in history on Thursday morning
At 10 a.m. local time on Sept. 7, several horse racing tracks in Kentucky celebrated the most recent form of gaming expansion in their state. With college football already into its 2023-24 season and the start of the NFL regular season for the same time period mere hours away, it was a well-timed launch.
Beshear, Kentucky’s governor since 2019, has never been anything but upfront about his desire for Kentucky to join the majority of states that offer some form of legal sports betting. He also plans to speak about the success as he runs for re-election to the office, proving his ability to work with lawmakers of a different party.
That particular stumping was visible at Churchill Downs as Beshear placed the first bet.
Beshear wagered $20 on a college football futures parlay. His three legs consisted of the overs on the win totals for both Kentucky and Louisville plus the under on the win total for Duke.
Beshear also had plans to visit Red Mile Gaming & Racing back in Lexington on Thursday. Beshear wasn’t the only one celebrating the advent of legal sports wagering on Thursday morning, though.
Festivities in other parts of Kentucky
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman had the first bet honors at Turfway Park in Florence, for example.
Red Mile hosted two members of the Kentucky legislature, including Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, for the opening wagers.
While online wagering in Kentucky is not scheduled to begin until Sept. 28 at the earliest, Kentuckians can now complete their account registrations and fund those accounts on five different licensed apps. For those looking to take advantage of in-person betting until then, there are some important things to note.
Of greatest note is that legal sports wagering is now available in Kentucky.