The Kentucky Derby is the biggest event in horse racing, and this year’s edition of the classic race may likely be the biggest ever from a betting perspective.
Saturday’s race will be the first where betting on it is available through FanDuel’s sports betting app. The Flutter brand is the first sportsbook to integrate a parimutuel racebook on the same platform as a fixed-odds sportsbook. That means FanDuel customers in 13 states can deposit money into their sports betting account and use it to bet on horses. It’s the same single-wallet concept available in states where FanDuel has sports betting and iGaming.
What that means for the Derby is that a large pool of bettors who might not have wagered on horse racing before now have easy access to do so. We're tracking the latest Kentucky Derby odds for bettors new and old at BetKentucky.com
Kentucky sportsbooks eagerly await the sports betting launch in the Bluegrass State.
FanDuel Is An Official Betting Sponsor Of Kentucky Derby
Andrew Moore, FanDuel’s general manager of racing, told BetKentucky.com that Flutter has long understood the value of the sport, which offers bettors numerous chances to wager as races take place a few minutes apart at tracks across the country. It also owns TVG, an advanced deposit wagering site for racing.
Moore added the company is “excited” to partner with Churchill Downs and introduce the sport to a new audience. That partnership includes FanDuel serving as an official betting sponsor of the Derby.
“The challenge is to create the right content and experiences to attract audiences to watch and attend,” Moore said. “We’ve leveraged our betting platform and FanDuel TV, formerly the TVG Network, which has a 20-year history in the sport, to create a unique experience that pairs wagering with expert content, providing fans with a unique watch and wager experience not found in other sports.”
To help novice bettors better understand the sport, FanDuel has set up a “Horse Racing 101” guide within its app. Moore said that it was created because there will likely be a lot of first-time Derby bettors on the app this weekend.
FanDuel’s standalone racing app is available in Kentucky at the Apple Store for mobile devices and as a direct download for Android devices. The nice thing is the single wallet still works – so if you have deposited funds into your FanDuel fantasy or sports betting account, you can use that money to bet on the ponies this weekend.
Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO Bill Carstanjen Talks Numbers
Last year’s Derby produced a record handle of $179 million, topping the $166.5 million bet on the race in 2019. The handle for the entire race day was $273.8 million, also a record eclipsing the 2019 total of $250.9 million.
Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO Bill Carstanjen was asked last week during the company’s first-quarter earnings call with investment analysts what impact he expected FanDuel’s integration to make on wagering. He declined to put a number out there but urged analysts to track wagering reports for all Triple Crown events.
“I think they’re showing a lot of interest and appetite,” he said. “The thesis that we have here is that many of our customers will enjoy a bet on the Kentucky Derby or on horse racing, but we never managed to reach those customers with our TwinSpires offering.”
For perspective on the potential impact, all you need to do is look at how much was wagered on horse racing and sports betting last year.
According to The Jockey Club, U.S. horseplayers wagered $12.1 billion in 2022. The legal sports betting market produced a handle of $93.2 billion last year, according to the American Gaming Association.
That’s not to say anyone’s expecting a seven-fold increase in the Derby handle, but it shows how big the market could become if the casual Derby viewer with access to FanDuel can become a bettor.
“These folks that are out there now with a broader sports wagering platform like FanDuel, they’ve reached a lot more customers than we ever were able to with our very narrowly focused TwinSpires app, which we still think is the absolute best in the business for betting on horse racing,” Carstanjen said. “But that’s all you do on it. You don’t bet on all these other sports.”
Learn about all of the top Kentucky sportsbook apps ahead of the expected launch.
FanDuel Not Alone In Horse Racing Space
While FanDuel is the only sportsbook now with its eyes on horse racing. In late March, DraftKings unveiled DK Horse, a standalone ADW powered by Churchill’s TwinSpires platform. When it announced its partnership with Churchill Downs Inc. last year, DraftKings said it planned to integrate the ADW into its gaming platform but did not give a timeframe for when that would happen.
Naturally, with the Derby coming up, both FanDuel and DraftKings are offering bonuses for racing bettors.
The FanDuel Kentucky Sportsbook promo code for FanDuel Racing is a “No Sweat Bet” of up to $20 on all customers' first racing wager. If that bet loses, they’ll receive a credit back equaling their bet up to $20.
The DraftKings Kentucky Sportsbook promo code for DK Horse is a 100% deposit bonus of up to $250.
Besides FanDuel and DraftKings, PointsBet has also launched its racebook app as well. It’s not available in Kentucky, but it is available in 25 states, including Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The PointsBet Racing app also works on a separate wallet from the sportsbook app. Caesars Sportsbook in Kentucky and BetMGM Kentucky are expected to be major players as well.
As sports betting makes its way to the state, track our Kentucky sportsbook promo page as we will have all the latest deals once available.