The Mint GM: Sportsbooks Put Kentucky At A ‘Competitive Advantage’

Written By Matthew Bain on May 19, 2023 - Last Updated on June 23, 2023
Mint GM: Kentucky sportsbooks bring competitive advantage, from

The general manager of one of Kentucky’s most popular gambling facilities says adding sports betting will put his company and others in Kentucky at “a competitive advantage.”

Henry Graffeo, general manager of The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland, appeared in a Thursday interview with WYKT-TV.

“It adds gaming to the state,” Graffeo said of sports betting in Kentucky launching later this year. “It actually puts us at a competitive advantage to the local commonwealths around us. Kentucky will be able to compete with Tennessee or other states on sports wagering.”

Keeneland, Red Mile first to partner up

The Mint is a 450-gaming machine hall in Williamsburg. It’s one of three gaming halls owned by the same company. The largest is The Mint Gaming Hall at Kentucky Downs, the privately owned horse racetrack that’s one of 10 Kentucky venues that can have retail sportsbooks. Those venues can partner with one sports betting operator for a retail sportsbook and up to three online operators for mobile apps.

Kentucky Downs has yet to announce any partnerships.

Keeneland and The Red Mile were the first to ink a deal this week, securing a Kentucky partnership with Caesars. Under the terms of the agreement, Caesars will operate retail sportsbooks at both venues and offer its Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky app when online sports betting goes live.

Shannon Arvin, Keeneland’s President and CEO, told WYKT-TV that adding a Caesars Sportsbook to Keeneland and The Red Mile, which it also owns, will bring more visibility to both Lexington facilities.

“To have a model racetrack, we need fans,” Arvin said. “And we are very fortunate in Lexington because our community embraces us. People love April and October because that means it is time to come out and watch the races at Keeneland. And the more eyes we can get on our sport, the better for us.”

Other partnerships to be determined

With Keeneland and The Red Mile locked into their retail partnership, that leaves these venues without official partners:

  • Churchill Downs
  • Turfway Park
  • Ellis Park
  • Kentucky Downs
  • Oak Grove
  • Revolutionary Racing
  • Cumberland Run
  • Kentucky Speedway

If you’re looking for a logical next partnership to be announced, look toward FanDuel and Churchill Downs. The two have a longstanding relationship that spans horse betting, for FanDuel Racing, and sports betting, as FanDuel Sportsbook was the official sportsbook sponsor of the Kentucky Derby.

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Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain started as a Content Manager for PlayKentucky and other Catena Media sites in 2022. He covered the launch of Massachusetts sports betting and the Prop 26 vs. Prop 27 battle in California. Before that, he spent six years as a sports reporter and then deputy sports editor for the Des Moines Register, during which time he won nine statewide journalism awards, including the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists Award. As deputy sports editor, Matthew oversaw the Register's recruiting coverage while also innovating the outlet's high school sports coverage. Matthew graduated from San Diego State and grew up in California, but he's somehow a Boston Celtics fan. Long story.

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