Sportsbooks See Kentucky Derby Betting As Catalyst For Horse Racing Cross-Sell

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Kentucky Derby betting

The Kentucky Derby is set to mix with legal sports betting for the first time in its home state, with the nation’s leading sportsbooks already seeing a positive crossover between sports and horse racing.

Executives from FanDuel and DraftKings told LSR last week Kentucky is the top state for crossover between the two gambling options.

“Kentucky certainly overindexes in horse racing,” FanDuel Racing general manager Andrew Moore said. “There is racing in Kentucky all year round. It is very much in their DNA, so it is not surprising that the percentage of sports bettors that try racing is consistently higher than other states.”

Kentucky Derby presents opportunity

Since KY sports betting apps launched in late September, FanDuel has handled $478.6 million. It accounts for 37% of the online market. The company is rolling out an ad campaign in the Bluegrass State ahead of Kentucky Derby betting to boost that market share.

Moore said the opportunity from increased media investment is “far greater” in Kentucky than a year ago now that sports betting is legal. He noted, too, it tends to be a high-volume customer using the shared wallet between the FanDuel sportsbook and horse betting app.

“If you are in Kentucky, you can’t avoid the Derby,” Moore said. “Having that accessibility via their sportsbook account this year will be very helpful to (customers).”

Kentucky sports betting leader

The current leader among online KY sportsbooks is DraftKings. It has 38% of handle with $499 million through February.

“Kentucky is a good market overall for both sports and horses,” Johnny Avello, director of race and sportsbook operations, told LSR last week. “This isn’t Kentucky’s first rodeo, they’ve been around horse betting for a very long time. It is a very lucrative market for us.”

In just over five months, DraftKings earned the most revenue in the market, with $65.6 million.

bet365 inks horse betting partnership

Bet365, the third most popular Kentucky sports betting app, announced a partnership in March with 1/ST Technology to offer a horse betting product in the US.

The new app will not be available in time for Kentucky Derby betting. A bet365 spokesperson told LSR on Monday an official launch date will be announced later.

Sports bettors in the Bluegrass State have sent $93.6 million through the bet365 app since late September. The operator cleared $15.9 million in revenue.

Kentucky Derby home popular in-person location

Kentucky sports betting licenses run through racetracks, allowing the horse betting facilities to offer in-person sports betting, too.

Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, has seen the most betting volume since retail KY sportsbooks opened for business. The track has handled $20.2 million in sports bets and produced $1.6 million in revenue.

The Churchill Downs Race and Sportsbook will reopen on May 9 following three weeks of no activity around the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs did not respond to multiple requests for comment on their sportsbook operations.

Derby Day brings foot traffic

Kentucky Derby betting drives much foot traffic to off-track betting locations nationwide.

The Caesars Sportsbook at Red Mile Gaming and Racing in Lexington will be no different.

Gabe Prewitt, VP of racing and sports wagering operations at Red Mile, said, “Derby Day is the busiest day of the year at every facility. I’m sure we will all benefit to some degree with so much traffic on-site.”