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Sports betting legal in Kentucky today; Governor, Lt. Governor making first bets at state sites

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Sports wagering, which was legalized by the General Assembly earlier this year, begins today at 12 brick-and-mortar licensed retail facilities across Kentucky, while the use of approved mobile apps won’t begin until Sept. 28.

Gov. Andy Beshear said he’s looking forward to it.

“I’ll be excited to be at Churchill Downs, a little before 10 a.m., to make the first bet. Everything is ready, although there have been some tracks having to do last minutes work to be ready to take them.”

He will also visit the Red Mile in Lexington at 1:30 p.m., where he will be joined by 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.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman will be in Northern Kentucky to be with local leaders and Turfway Park and Newport Racing & Gaming executives at 10 a.m. for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and to place the first bet.

Among the sports Kentuckians can wager on from the catalog that was approved a week ago by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s (KHRC) Sports Wagering Advisory Council are:

• The National Football League (NFL).

• Major League Baseball (MLB).

• National Basketball Association (NBA).

• Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

• NCAA baseball, softball, basketball, football and hockey.

When asked what he will put his money on when he places the state’s initial wager, Beshear replied, “I’ll announce it then. But you can bet I will likely support our in-state schools and root against Duke.”

The Kentucky Baptist Convention opposed the sports betting bill.

“We’re not against it because we want to keep folks from having fun or having what is sold to us as innocent and harmless entertainment. We oppose it because we see the dangers,” KBC Executive Director Todd Gray told lawmakers in March. “We recognize expanded gambling preys on poor people. It’s often the poorest people of our communities who are most vulnerable to the slick advertisement and the promise that Draft Kings puts out and Fan Duel puts out, about getting rich quick.”

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