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Belmont Stakes Betting Exec Welcomes Sportsbooks Into Horse Racing Market


As Belmont Stakes betting closes out horse racing’s Triple Crown on Saturday, racetrack executives again face a difficult question: see online sportsbooks in the horse betting space as competition or work with them as partners.

At least one executive from the New York Racing Association (NYRA), which hosts Belmont Stakes betting, believes the partnership route can provide a boost the racing industry has not seen in decades.

“This is the greatest opportunity for horse racing in the last 40 or 50 years,” NYRA chief revenue officer Tony Allevato told LSR last week. “You’re taking an audience that you know likes to bet, likes sports, and is probably betting on things they’re watching on TV. (Sportsbooks) are exposing them to horse racing more often than in the past.”

Can Belmont Stakes betting add to growth?

NYRA is hoping Belmont Stakes betting will follow the same path as the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

Three online sportsbooks saw increased engagement with their horse racing products during the Kentucky Derby:

  • FanDuel had its highest volume horse betting day for the Derby. It serviced more than 700,000 customers, up from 500,000 last year. 
  • DraftKings horse betting app, DK Horse, was the most-downloaded racing app on Kentucky Derby Day
  • According to Dan Shapiro, Caesars senior vice president and chief development officer, Kentucky Derby handle through Caesars Racebook exceeded internal projections by 60%.

Kentucky Derby betting sets record

Customers playing through sports betting brands contributed heavily to record-breaking Kentucky Derby betting, as players staked $210.7 million on the race this year.

“(Caesars) earned some positive momentum from the Kentucky Derby this year,” Shapiro recently told LSR. “We saw record TV ratings and handle. Much of that was driven by the marketing that Caesars and other sportsbooks did around the event.”

Caesars Racebook is a white label of NYRA’s horse betting platform, NYRA Bets.

Preakness betting handle increased, too

Preakness Stakes betting rebounded this year, too, with $57.9 million bet on the race. It was up 6% from last year’s $54.6 million total.

Future bets on the Preakness also increased in 2024.

“If you look at the results, all the uptake was from the sports betting partners,” Allevato said. “We are really at that pivotal point in horse racing history to see how we work together with the sportsbooks to help them take off.”

Belmont Stakes betting partners

The next step for NYRA is integrating a more tech-focused product for Caesars and BetMGM, their sportsbook partners. 

Allevato, who also serves as president of NYRA Bets, said significant enhancements will be made within the next year.

“We’re focused on making our product as presentable as possible to the casual sports betting fan. Then we’re also looking at AI integration into our platform to help people make selections and wager in a way that gives them a better opportunity to win,” he said.

BetMGM declined to comment on its NYRA partnership when reached by email last week.

Horse betting gets tech investment 

In a world of competing priorities for sportsbooks, horse betting does not always top the list.

According to Andrew Moore, GM of FanDuel Racing, powering NFL betting same-game parlays or a faster payment processor are more significant revenue drivers, and garner more time and attention. FanDuel, though, has made one of the largest horse betting investments with its shared wallet technology. 

“More new customers engaged with the Kentucky Derby this year than ever before, and they’re doing that primarily because they don’t need to set up a new account,” Moore told LSR during the SBC North America Summit last month in New Jersey. “Horse racing sits very well in the sportsbook space, especially during the summer when there’s not too much for horse racing to compete against.”

Both DraftKings and Caesars are actively working on developing a shared wallet across their sports and horse betting offerings. Neither provided a definitive timeline for completion.

DK Horse sponsorship on Belmont Stakes betting weekend

DraftKings struck a marketing deal with NYRA for the second consecutive year.

DK Horse is attaching its name to the Acorn Stakes on Friday of Belmont Stakes betting weekend. Then, DraftKings Sportsbook is sponsoring the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in August.

“We’re supporting the game, and supporting is a big word,” Johnny Avello, director of race & sportsbook operations at DraftKings, told LSR last week. “Horse racing has declined over the years, so we need to elevate the game again. The partnerships will go a long way in helping the game grow.”

Sponsorships present VIP opportunities

With increased on-track attendance for big race days like the Belmont Stakes, for example, branding and logos around the facility are useful. However, Allevato sees another potential marketing opportunity for DraftKings and its bigger bettors.

“With those marketing deals comes a lot of hospitality and opportunity for them to bring in high-value sports betting customers, get them to the racetrack, and hopefully get them interested in racing. That’s how we see an opportunity to grow with DraftKings,” he said.

Shapiro told LSR last week VIP hospitality is a marketing strategy for Caesars, too. He added the operator has a suite at Del Mar near San Diego, where they cater a horse racing experience for their high-dollar customers.

bet365 makes fixed-odds horse betting push

Bet365 is also making its way into the US horse betting market, recently inking deals with 1/ST Technology and BetMakers.

With BetMakers, bet365 will offer fixed-odds horse betting in New Jersey. BetMakers will also be the new content provider for bet365’s fixed-odds product in Colorado.

On the parimutuel side, Bet365 is working with 1/ST Technology to roll out a horse betting app for customers. There is no definitive timeline for the fixed-odds or parimutuel products to be launched.

The post Belmont Stakes Betting Exec Welcomes Sportsbooks Into Horse Racing Market appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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