Less than three months after announcing a partnership with FanDuel, Churchill Downs Incorporated on Tuesday announced a deal with the other major US online sports betting operator, DraftKings.
As part of the new deal, DraftKings will create DK HORSE, a standalone advanced-deposit wagering (ADW) site for horse racing, and work to get it approved to take wagers in 21 states by the time Kentucky Derby 149 runs on May 6. TwinSpires, Churchill Downs’ ADW platform, will power the DraftKings-branded site.
DraftKings’ ADW service will carry racing from Churchill Downs’ network of tracks, and the Louisville-based company will also work to provide more racing content for the Boston-based gaming technology company.
“We believe the depth and quality of our online offering through TwinSpires is unmatched in horse racing,” said Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO Bill Carstanjen. “We are excited to establish this relationship with DraftKings and to deliver a full end-to-end white label ADW solution that will introduce their significant base of sports betting customers to horse racing wagering.”
DraftKings Racing App Separate, For Now
Once DK HORSE launches, customers – including existing DraftKings sports betting, online casino, and daily fantasy players – will need to register and deposit funds into the ADW. However, a joint release from Churchill Downs and DraftKings mentioned plans to integrate DK HORSE into the DraftKings suite would come at a future date.
We are excited to collaborate with Churchill Downs Incorporated, not only to give our existing customers an opportunity to engage with pari-mutuel horse wagering but also to acquire new customers efficiently during marquee horse racing moments,” DraftKings CEO and Chairman Jason Robins said. “Due to the structure of the agreement, we expect this new product offering to be immediately profitable.”
US horse racing is a pari-mutuel wagering product that has a fixed takeout based on the track and the wager. ADWs, like TwinSpires, keep a share of the takeout.
Convergence of Horse Racing and Sports Betting
With the announcement Tuesday, Churchill Downs now has affiliations in place with the two largest online sports betting operators in the county. FanDuel and DraftKings account for roughly two-thirds of the gross gaming revenue of all US online sportsbooks, according to research earlier this year from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.
Back in September, Churchill Downs and FanDuel reached a deal that gave the Flutter brand non-exclusive sports betting sponsorship rights to the Kentucky Derby. FanDuel, which already has an ADW platform powered by TVG, but its deal with Churchill would allow FanDuel to offer pari-mutuel racing on its sports betting app.
Carstanjen announced in August that Churchill would pursue relationships with multiple online sportsbooks. He and other company leaders see that as a way to introduce horse racing to a larger audience already engaged in a similar activity.
For the sportsbooks, partnering with Churchill provides them with a connection to the biggest event in racing. The Kentucky Derby alone generated a record handle of $179 million this year, and the entire 14-race card for the first Saturday in May produced a $273 million handle.
Churchill’s not alone among racetrack operators in pursuing deals with sports betting operators. In October, the Stronach Group’s 1/ST Technology inked a deal with PointsBet to develop an ADW platform that would be integrated into the Australian-based sports betting apps licensed in US states.
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