Kentucky, known for its rich horse racing heritage and passionate sports fans, is gearing up for an exhilarating new chapter as sports betting finally gets the green light in the Bluegrass State.
With the approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), the anticipation is building as the NFL season approaches, marking the perfect timing for the official rollout of sports betting in September.
Resounding endorsement as Governor backs bill
The KHRC’s approval allows for pari-mutuel wagering to take off on September 7, catering to retail, in-person locations like horse racing tracks, extension facilities, and simulcast venues.
Enthusiasts and bettors alike can now rejoice as they plan to soak in the electrifying atmosphere of horse racing while placing wagers on their favourite sports teams.
The date for the rollout also aligns with the commencement of the NFL season, building on the excitement of the opening games.
The road leading to this momentous occasion has been filled with events. Just over three months ago, the Republican-controlled Senate solidified the path for sports betting with a resounding endorsement, voting 25-12 in favour.
The bill found swift favour with Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, who promptly signed it into law on June 29, entrusting the KHRC with the crucial task of overseeing its implementation.
As a strong advocate of the venture, he lauded the potential financial benefits that sports betting is expected to bring to the state.
Financial boost and interest in horse racing expected
As excitement brews in Kentucky, the ripple effects of legal sports betting are tangible. Having nearly three dozen states already embracing this opportunity, Kentucky anticipates unlocking the economic potential of this rapidly growing industry.
An impressive $23 million is expected to flow into the state’s coffers each year through tax revenue and licensing fees, significantly bolstering its financial standing.
In addition to the obvious financial benefits, sports betting holds a glimmer of hope as a potential catalyst for reigniting interest in horse racing reports Horse.bet, an online guide to the best horse betting platforms.
By offering a diverse range of betting options, horse racing tracks aim to engage bettors and entice them with the allure of this traditional sport. As the action unfolds on the tracks, fans can now also indulge in the thrill of betting on their favourite sports teams and athletes.
Various venues are bracing for the uptick in sports betting fans
Eager to maximise the potential of this new landscape, various horse racing tracks are already preparing to embrace sports betting.
Prominent locations such as Turfway Park in northern Kentucky and Ellis Park in Henderson, both owned by Churchill Downs Inc., will be among the first to offer sports betting opportunities.
Furthermore, Churchill Downs Inc. is poised to extend sports betting to its Derby City Gaming facility, and they are diligently working on a new venue in the heart of Louisville, Keeneland, a revered institution in Lexington, is equally enthusiastic and plans to offer sports betting at its adjacent Red Mile venue.
Red Mile already boasts slots-like historical horse racing machines, a popular feature among gaming enthusiasts in the state.
The KHRC regulations, carefully designed to foster a fair and transparent sports betting environment, allow for up to nine operator facilities and three providers to obtain licenses.
This inclusivity is expected to promote healthy competition while ensuring that the state’s revenue streams are diverse and sustainable.
To oversee the smooth functioning of the industry, the KHRC will appoint 14 officials, with the flexibility to augment the workforce as required.
KHRC ensuring that gaming measures are in place as countdown begins
Beyond licensing, the KHRC regulations delve into the technical aspects of sports betting, encompassing gaming provisions and, importantly, responsible gaming measures.
The latter serves as a cornerstone of the industry’s integrity, safeguarding bettors and ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants.
With the NFL season about to commence, Kentucky is abuzz with excitement.
The legalisation of sports betting not only marks a significant milestone for the state’s economy but also showcases its dynamic sports culture.
The racetracks will now pulsate with excitement, as the crowd’s jubilant cheers and the adrenaline-fueled action of the games merge with the thrill of betting.
For the people of Kentucky, this fresh source of amusement is set to weave itself into the fabric of their sporting encounters, creating cherished memories that will resonate for generations to come.
The countdown has begun, and Kentucky is ready to welcome sports betting with open arms.
Whether it’s cheering for the beloved home team or rooting for the fastest steed on the track, the state is all set to embrace a new era of sports and gaming.
Bet365 has entered into an agreement with Churchill Downs Incorporated to gain online sports betting and iGaming market access in Pennsylvania.
Bet365 in the US: A slow burn
The state will be the fourth US market bet365 has entered, after launching operations in New Jersey in 2019 and subsequently entering the Colorado and Ohio markets in September 2022 and January 2023, respectively.
Bet365’s seemingly cautious approach in the US since the widespread adoption of sports betting – compared to other brands which have launched operations in dozens of states – has raised eyebrows across the online gambling industry, leading many to conclude this “sleeping giant” has been biding its time before going full throttle in the country.
What they said
The deal is consistent with Churchill Downs’ strategy to exit the online sports and casino business, instead opting to monetise its market access rights and focus on growing its TwinSpires online horse racing business, the casino and racetrack operator said.
“Off the heels of our launch in Ohio, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with Churchill Downs Incorporated,” added a spokesperson for bet365.
Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen: “Our relationship with bet365 enables us to maximise the value of our company’s sports betting and iGaming market access in Pennsylvania.”
“Once live, the world’s favourite online sports betting brand will be available to sports fans in Pennsylvania, offering fantastic site features, including Bet Boosts, Same Game Parlay, Cash Out and Edit Bet, on top of our market-leading sign-up offer.”
Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said: “We are pleased to partner with a global leader in the online gaming industry. Our relationship with bet365 enables us to maximise the value of our company’s sports betting and iGaming market access in Pennsylvania.”
Ramping up efforts
As part of a series of 2023 predictions sent to subscribers, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming (EKG) said bet365 was “on course to expand significantly its US footprint in 2023 with multiple state launches,” while suggesting the firm could also “surprise via M&A.”
EKG – which regularly tests a variety of products from across the online gambling sector to compare the offerings of major businesses in the space – added that bet365 “has the strongest product in the most competitive OSB market in the world (the UK)” and will therefore “challenge for podium position in our US OSB app rankings as it further localises its US product.”
As the battle for customer acquisition in the US turns into the battle for customer retention, a differentiated product may make all the difference when it comes to holding onto repeat custom.
Bet365 is world-renowned for its proprietary technology and exceedingly popular user experience.
According to financial information recently provided to Companies House in the UK, the operator generated revenue of £2.85bn in the year ended 27 March 2022, giving a year-on-year growth rate of 2.3%.
According to Regulus Partners’ Paul Leyland’s analysis of the results, however, what appeared to be a slow rate of growth in fact belied a more impressive performance for the brand, which saw an increase of nearly 50% in its number of global active users during the period.
With the financial results normalised to account for unusually high sports betting margins during the comparable period, alongside a bad run of results combined with “aggressive” bonusing in the second half of FY22, Regulus estimated a more generous 15-20% growth rate in sports betting revenue for the firm.
The operator’s new agreement with Churchill Downs is still subject to regulatory requirements. It is not yet clear when the brand is expected to officially launch in Pennsylvania.
Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has appointed Ben Murr as its president of TwinSpires and online gaming.
Murr will take on responsibility for the overall strategy and operations for CDI’s online business, having spent 14 years in leadership roles with the operator, including as president of United Tote, SVP and chief technology officer, and most recently as interim president of TwinSpires and online gaming.
Prior to joining CDI, Murr worked in IT leadership roles at General Electric.
His promotion is effective as of last Friday (14 January), and in addition to his new responsibilities, Murr will remain as a senior vice president of CDI.
The operator said it will now move quickly to fill the SVP and chief technology officer role.
“During his tenure with CDI, Ben has been an important leader in the growth across our operations,” said CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen.
“He has been a key player throughout the extensive changes in our company over the last 14 years and will continue to move our TwinSpires and online businesses forward.”
Murr added: “I’ve been heavily involved with TwinSpires and our online gaming operations throughout my tenure at CDI. I am passionate about these businesses and believe strongly in their future growth potential and strategic importance for CDI.”
TwinSpires is CDI’s online racing, sports betting and iGaming brand, and was the result of the consolidation of the operator’s previously available online products, WinTicket.com, BrisBET.com and TsnBET.com.
The platform is currently available in 30 states across the US.