Sports Betting Officially Launches in Kentucky Thursday: Gov Places First Bet

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear placed his first bet as the commonwealth officially launched sports betting Thursday (September 7, 2023).  The public was welcome to start wagering at 11 am. 


So what did the Gov bet?

"Governor Andy Beshear places the ceremonial first (legal) sports bet in the Commonwealth at Churchill Downs -- bet the over UK and U of L college football win total, and the under on Duke (not sure that was wise)"

For now only retail sportsbooks will be able to take bets.  Mobile and online sportsbooks are set to launch Sept. 28, 2023.

Kentucky mobile sites expected to launch on September 28 include: FanDuel, DraftKings, bet365, BetMGM, SBTech and Caesars.

Other mobile sportsbooks set to operate in the commonwealth some time after September 28 include Circa, DraftKings, ESPN Bet and Fanatics Sportsbook.  The market will be a tough one for any book not getting in early as up to 27 online sportsbooks are permitted to obtain a license.  Kentucky has a population of 4.6 million, 2.9 million of whom are over the age of 21. 

Legal age to bet will be 18, which is rare for the US regulated sportsbooks that mostly allow those 21 and up.

Here are the locations for the retail sportsbooks:

Churchill Downs (700 Central Ave., Louisville)

Derby City Gaming (4520 Poplar Level Road, Louisville)

Ellis Park (3300 US Hwy 41 N, Henderson)

The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland (244 Penny Lane, Williamsburg)

The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland Run (777 Winners Lane, Corbin)

Newport Racing & Gaming (1723 Monmouth St., Newport)

Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel (777 Winners Way, Oak Grove)

The Red Mile (1200 Red Mile Road, Lexington)

Turfway Park Racing & Gaming (7500 Turfway Road, Florence)

“This is a historic day for our commonwealth – sports wagering will open for the first time in Kentucky in less than 60 days,” Beshear said during a press conference after signing the sports betting legislation into law. “Bringing sports wagering to the state not only gives Kentuckians a much-anticipated new form of entertainment, but also brings money to the state to support pensions, freeing up money that can be used to build a better Kentucky."

- Don Shapiro,

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