The retail sportsbooks at Churchill Downs and its affiliated historical horse racing facilities across Kentucky will not be branded. This means FanDuel will not have a retail sportsbook in Kentucky via its Churchill Downs partnership.
That’s according to Tonya Abeln, the vice president of communications at Churchill Downs Inc., who shared the information with Gaming Today following CDI’s Q2 2023 earnings call on Thursday.
“We do not plan to brand the retail race and sports books at our properties,” Abeln wrote in an email.
Why Churchill Downs Is Choosing This Approach
This approach is different from that of Keeneland and Red Mile, which are partnered with Caesars Sportsbook. There will be a Caesars-branded sportsbook at Red Mile, and Caesars Kentucky will also launch as a mobile app thanks to the partnership.
In all likelihood, CDI is choosing to take this approach with its retail sportsbooks because … well, because it can. CDI owns eight of the 14 venues eligible for sportsbooks in Kentucky. For lack of a better term, it essentially runs the Kentucky gambling industry.
Its facilities already generate a significant amount of foot traffic. CDI executives must have determined that adding a commercial brand to those facilities’ sportsbooks wouldn’t add enough value in exchange for the percentage of betting revenue the company would have to share with whichever brand it used. (If a retail venue chooses to have a branded sportsbook, it must share the revenue from that location with the commercial brand.)
CDI Retail Sportsbook Locations
CDI will operate sports betting locations at:
- Churchill Downs
- Derby City Gaming
- Derby City Gaming Downtown (opens late 2023)
- Turfway Park Racing & Gaming
- Oak Grove Racing & Gaming
- Newport Racing & Gaming
- Ellis Park Racing & Gaming
It will also offer sports betting at its future Ellis Park extension site. The timing for that venue is unknown, although CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen did say the company has selected a location east of Owensboro for the site during the Q2 earnings call.