Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear Hopeful Of Sports Betting Legalization: “It's Time To Catch Up”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear Hopeful Of Sports Betting Legalization: “It's Time To Catch Up”

As Churchill Downs reopened Thursday Turfway Park following three years of renovations, and people walked for the first time into the new building, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear stated he hopes to legalize sports betting at the facility’s grand opening.

Churchill Downs first acquired the racing facility in Florence in 2019. The new project broke ground two years later, in March 2021, after the demolition of the former grandstands and buildings. Beshear was part of that date, and has long championed the gaming project.

“While announcements are great, groundbreakings are fun, topping off ceremonies are important… Grand openings mean it’s real. It means the jobs are real,” he now pointed out on Thursday, referring to the more than 400 jobs that have been created thanks to Turfway Park’s opening, WCPO reported.

The Gov. called Turfway Park a “first class” facility, and also took the chance to back sports betting legalization efforts in the state. “Pushed it every year I’ve been governor and I was attorney general. Need a few people in the general assembly to come around. There are a whole lot of them here tonight. Hopefully they like what they see,” the Governor stated.

He also assured that all it would take is the approval of two senators, who he claims are currently keeping it from happening. “If we can get through those members of leadership, we can get it done,” Beshear said.

.@SenatorSchickel delivered remarks at today’s preview of @TurfwayPark. He’s among our signature industry’s strongest advocates. In 2021, Schickel championed SB 120, which created a pathway for keeping Historical Horse Racing & ensured the future of our signature equine industry.

— KY Senate Majority (@KYSenateGOP) August 30, 2022 The lack of options for Kentuckians to wager has been an issue for the Governor, as he said he knows that taxpayers in Northern Kentucky have chosen in the past to go to casinos in surrounding states. But there is hope in Turfway Park, he believes.

“With a facility like this, we can compete with everyone. But yes, the general assembly has failed to pass sports betting, failed to pass full gaming, failed to pass medical marijuana. We’re behind the rest of the country on those things. It’s time to catch up,” the Gov. stated, according to WCPO.

Turfway Park Racing & Gaming opened Thursday with 800 historical horse racing machines and two restaurants filling the entertainment space. The outdoor grandstand was also knocked down and an indoor gaming area was created, which acts as a flexible space that can also be used for events. Live racing is set to make its major comeback on November 30.