FanDuel Sportsbook GM Karol Corcoran Offers Insights On Kentucky Sports Betting

FanDuel Sportsbook GM Karol Corcoran Offers Insights On Kentucky Sports Betting
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

FanDuel hit a milestone on Thursday. With the launch of Kentucky sports betting apps, the Flutter Entertainment brand now has its mobile app live in 20 U.S. states.

Since the Supreme Court’s 2018 repeal of PASPA opened the floodgates for states to legalize sports betting, FanDuel has established itself as one of the top online operators nationally. Typically, it battles DraftKings for the top spot in competitive online wagering states, with both operators combining to claim a majority of the market share.

That should also be the case in the Bluegrass State, as FanDuel and DraftKings are two of the seven Kentucky sports betting operators going live with their apps and websites. However, FanDuel Senior Vice President and Sportsbook General Manager Karol Corcoran believes his company has an edge in the state.

On Wednesday, Corcoran sat down with to talk about the FanDuel Kentucky sportsbook launch and the operator’s expectations in its newest market. What follows is a transcript of our conversation, with responses edited for brevity and clarity.

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Corcoran Believes FanDuel Will Break Strong From The Starting Gate

BK: What is FanDuel seeing as the company prepares for its Kentucky sports betting launch on Thursday?

KC: “We’re looking forward to it. We’re ready. We’ve been getting good signals over the last few weeks about the interest in sports betting in Kentucky. I think we’re especially encouraged by the strength of our racing business in Kentucky and the fact that we will be the only operator that allows racing customers to toggle between sports betting and racing. We think that gives us an extra advantage.”

BK: How much has the single wallet for racing and sports betting helped generate interest?

KC: “It’s helped massively. We’re very proud of our racing business in Kentucky. We’re grateful for the customers and the support that we have in Kentucky. We are confident that those customers will also enjoy our sports betting products. I think we’re extra excited about the fact that FanDuel TV is very popular in Kentucky. A lot of our top talent who are on the network spend a lot of time obviously in Kentucky. So, I think it’s going to be a boost for our business in Kentucky.

“If we zoom out to what we’ve seen in previous state launches where we also have a fantasy business: When customers are active – before the sports betting launch – in our fantasy business, they tend to try sports betting at a higher rate. I expect that will be the case with racing, too. So, in Kentucky, we have the fantasy boost and also the racing boost. It’s a good position to be in.”

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More Innovation In The Works At FanDuel

BK: FanDuel has partnered with Churchill Downs in Kentucky to gain online access, but are there plans for additional partnerships?

KC: “We’re always assessing our partnership roster. We want to choose partners where our interests align and where we can reach sports fans in an authentic way. While not in Kentucky, we do have a partnership with the Cincinnati Reds. They’re a popular team for many sports fans in Kentucky.”

BK: I see the Reds TV broadcasters promote the featured Same Game Parlay several times during the game.

KC: “We’re pretty proud of our Same Game Parlay products. First to bring it to market, we believe it’s market-leading, and it’s a fun and accessible way for customers to engage with the sport that they’re consuming, whether it’s football or baseball.

“I think many operators think that the same game parlay experience stops when the bet is placed. For me, that’s just the beginning. The real value is when customers are tracking their bets and seeing how many yards to go or how many hits for that leg to turn green. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to improve that part of the experience also.”

BK: So, when they’re tracking, are you seeing customers place additional bets at the same time?

KC: “I think it depends on the customer. Many times, they’re just checking to see how they’re doing. That’s part of the value or part of the fun. But if they’re also checking and they want to bet live, we have very strong live products they’re welcome to try. We try to make it easy and fun.

“We started to test this - we’re going to try and get better at it - to lean into the narratives of games so we can serve up a contextual bet based on what’s happening on the game that the customer is watching.”

What Kind Of Sports Betting State Will Kentucky Be?

BK: Kentucky is a little different from other states that have launched in that it’s been surrounded by other sports betting states, and many of those have had legal sports betting for years. Data shows thousands of Kentuckians have already established accounts in other states. How do you look to get back people who tried the FanDuel elsewhere but have since either stopped or tapered off their activity?

KC: “It’s something we’re working hard to do. Anyone who has tried our product and lapsed, we want to get them to try it again. Whenever a state launches, we see this to a certain degree. Kentucky is probably more on the spectrum of having lots of customers from different states. We’ll have lots of specific promotions for all customers, not just new customers, and they will be going live from Thursday. Whether it’s to bet more than one point being scored on Thursday Night Football or it’s a special promotion on the Wildcats game on Saturday, there will be lots of reasons for these customers to download again or to log back into the FanDuel sportsbook app.

“We’re acutely aware that we have customers who have traveled to use us or opportunistically use us when they were in other states, and we want to work hard to put a proposition in front of them to win their business. What we have seen in other states is that customers enjoy the fact that it’s now live in their state, and their activity tends to increase because they need to travel. They can bet several times rather than just one day a week. So, we’re looking forward to seeing how that plays out.”

BK: Does FanDuel consider Kentucky to be a football state or a basketball state?

KC: “Football is king, even in states where college basketball is super popular. I’m excited to see how college basketball goes in November. I think that will really resonate, but when it comes to attracting new people to try sports betting, football is king. We’ve seen that in other states that don’t have professional teams within their state lines but have them close by. Football is the sport with the most interest in the nation, and the actives follow that.

“That being said, we’re a month away from the NBA. We’re less than two months away from college basketball. The Reds are making a bit of a playoff push. I think there’s a lot of great content for Kentucky customers to bet on.”

BK: What stood out among the regulations the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved for sports betting?

KC: “We’re launching Thursday. It’s not that long ago when it was legalized. It’s impressive how we’ve come to market so quickly.

“We know college sports are very popular in Kentucky. States tend to take a more restrictive view of college sports and don’t allow people to bet on teams in their state or on players. Kentucky hasn’t taken that approach, which I think is good for the sports fans. They can enjoy our product more holistically as a result. It’s just not as much fun to bet on a college football game if you can bet on player props and over-unders on player performance.”

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Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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