Penn, ESPN Bet Partnering With Ellis Park for Kentucky Market Access

GamingToday.com is an independent sports news and information service. GamingToday.com has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company when you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

For more information, please read How We Rate Sportsbooks, Privacy Policy, or Contact Us with any concerns you may have.

Gaming Today is licensed and regulated to operate in AZ, CO, CT, DC, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MS, NJ, NV, NY, OH, ON, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV, and WY.

ESPN Bet will enter the Kentucky sports betting market via a partnership with Ellis Park Racing & Gaming, according to a document obtained Thursday by Gaming Today.

The document is an Aug. 2 email from Waqas Ahmed, deputy executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, to fellow regulators on the KHRC. It lists service providers that have partnered with the horse racing associations for Churchill Downs, Cumberland Run, Turfway Park, Ellis Park, Keeneland and Red Mile, Sandy’s Racing & Gaming, and Oak Grove.

Penn Sports Interactive and data provider Kambi are listed as partners of Ellis Entertainment, LLC, which operates Ellis Park Racing & Gaming in Henderson County. PSI is part of PENN Entertainment, which announced this week it was selling Barstool Sports back to Dave Portnoy and rebranding Barstool Sportsbook as ESPN Bet this fall.

Specifically, PENN Entertainment CEO Jay Snowden said Wednesday he hopes to have ESPN Bet up and running in November, “certainly before Thanksgiving.”

Will ESPN Bet Have a Retail Sportsbook at Ellis Park?

The Kentucky sports betting bill allows the state’s nine horse racing associations to partner with up to three online service providers. So ESPN Bet will go live in Kentucky via its partnership with Ellis Park.

ESPN Bet will not, however, have a branded retail sportsbook at Ellis Park. Churchill Downs Inc., which owns Ellis Park, told Gaming Today that none of the sports betting locations at any of its Kentucky venues would be branded.

Other Service Provider Partnerships

The document obtained by Gaming Today also lists several other partnerships, some of which were already public knowledge and some of which weren’t.

  • DraftKings and Circa are service providers for Cumberland Run in Corbin.
  • Kambi is a service provider for Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Turfway Part, and Oak Grove.
  • FanDuel is a service provider for Turfway Park (which is owned by CDI).
  • Caesars is a service provider for Keeneland and Red Mile.

On Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that seven sports betting companies had submitted applications for online licenses in Kentucky. They were:

  • Bet365
  • BetMGM
  • Caesars
  • Circa
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • PENN Entertainment (ESPN Bet)
About the Author
Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain is a contributor to Gaming Today. Before joining Catena Media in 2022, Bain spent six years with the USA TODAY Network as a reporter and deputy sports editor at the Des Moines Register. A California native, Bain helped spearhead Prop 26 vs. Prop 27 coverage. He has led Catena Media’s coverage of the Massachusetts sports betting launch and the legalization of Kentucky sportsbooks.

Get connected with us on Social Media