FanDuel Partners With Churchill Downs In Second Kentucky Sportsbook Deal

Written By Steve Schult on June 29, 2023
Churchill Downs FanDuel Kentucky sportsbook

The largest horse racing company in Kentucky has secured an online sports betting partnership.

Churchill Downs Inc., which owns four of the nine horse tracks in the state, will partner with FanDuel for its Kentucky sports betting operation — both for its retail sportsbook and for a mobile sports betting license.

A FanDuel spokesperson confirmed the partnership with PlayKentucky. However, he would not comment any further regarding the deal. Sports Betting Dime was first to report the confirmed deal.

In other words, there will be a FanDuel Kentucky platform when the industry launches later this year.

Churchill Downs CEO hinted at deal in April

CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen told in April that Churchill Downs planned to partner with FanDuel for sports betting.

However, this is the first time the leading sportsbook in the US has confirmed the partnership.

The details of the deal are scant. It’s still unknown if the partnership is for all four CDI-owned tracks — Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Turfway Park and Oak Grove. Or just its flagship track in Louisville, the home of the Kentucky Derby.

It’s possible that CDI lands another partnership as well. The sports betting legislation signed by Gov. Andy Beshear at the end of March allows each track to partner with up to three online operators.

Thus, it’s possible CDI could partner with several other operators via the four tracks it owns in Kentucky. The Louisville-based company already had a horse racing partnership with FanDuel and DraftKings. Having a DraftKings Kentucky platform also partner with CDI wouldn’t be a huge shock.

Deal makes FanDuel the second online sportsbook in Kentucky

This is just the second partnership for a potential Kentucky sportsbook. Caesars Entertainment partnered with Keeneland and Red Mile in mid-May.

Unlike the confirmation of this deal, the Caesars-Keeneland partnership laid out most of the details. The retail sportsbook at Red Mile will be Caesars-branded. Furthermore, it cemented Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky would be available when online betting is.

In the American sports betting market, FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars and BetMGM usually take up most of the market share. With half of the group already in a deal, it’s likely the other two make announcements soon.

Other Kentucky horse tracks awaiting a deal

If DraftKings and BetMGM are the next two to announce a deal, one of them is likely partnering with Sandy’s Racing & Gaming. Last week, VP of Government Relations Conor Lucas told PlayKentucky that its sportsbook would be ready to open in October, as would its historical horse racing machines.

Lucas also said they were in “final negotiations” with a sports betting partner. Furthermore, he said he wanted that operator to be one of “those big four,” referring to DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel and Caesars.

If the FanDuel partnership marks the opening of the floodgates, there’s a decent chance the BetMGM Kentucky operation ends up with the new Ashland track.

Photo by Associated Press
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Steve Schult

The Managing Editor of PlayKentucky, Steve Schult is a veteran of the gambling industry with more than a decade of experience covering the space. After earning his journalism degree from Marist College, the New York native began covering high-stakes poker tournaments and the U.S. gambling industry for various outlets. Following stints as a writer for Card Player Media, Bluff Magazine and the World Series of Poker, Schult joined Catena Media and has managed coverage for a handful of states.

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