In-person sports betting began today in Kentucky and plenty of Northern Kentuckians have already lined up to place their wagers.
This morning at Turfway Racing & Gaming in Florence, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman placed the first legal sports bet in NKY history. Coleman put $20 on the Cincinnati Bengals to win the Super Bowl at +1,000. That wager could net Coleman $220 if Joe Burrow and the Bengals lift the Lombardi Trophy next February.
For bettors, the timing couldn’t have been better. The first game of the 2023 NFL season kicks off tonight.
On Thursday morning, Coleman spoke to the media about how legal sports betting could benefit the state’s economy, as well as the political cooperation it took to get the bill across the finish line.
“Sports wagering is going to benefit all consenting adults because it means more revenue for economic development or 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 every firefighter police officer, public servant and teacher,” said Coleman.
Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed House Bill 551, which legalized sports betting in Kentucky. Gov. Andy Beshear signed the measure into law.
In August, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved temporary sports wagering licenses for the state’s horse racing tracks and their satellites, as well as service providers, including DraftKings and Bet365.
Coleman touted the bipartisan action it took to pass House Bill 551 into law. In particular, she highlighted Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer and former House Rep. Adam Koenig of Erlanger. Koenig had co-sponsored sports betting bills during past legislative sessions.
“They pushed for this for years and we thank them for their leadership, but together we all got it across the finish line,” Coleman.
Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Brent Cooper told LINK nky that sports betting would be “nothing but a positive for our region.” Specifically, Cooper highlighted the fact that Northern Kentucky bettors would no longer have to travel into Ohio or Indiana to wager, instead keeping that tax money in the region.
“These were dollars that were going across the river to either Ohio or Indiana,” Cooper said. “Now with this development, those dollars will be able to spend here. We had friends, neighbors, that were literally driving across the bridge to place a bet and then driving right back.”
Fans of online betting will have to wait a bit because as of today, bets can only be placed in person at licensed retail facilities. Sports betting apps like DraftKings and FanDuel will be able to accept wagers from Kentucky starting Sept. 28.
“It is such an exciting time to be able to level the playing field and keep our guests right here at Turfway Park on this side of the river,” Turfway President Michael Taylor said at the event.