PlayUSA Rewind: Kentucky Derby Betting Way Down At Churchill Downs

Written By Grant Lucas on September 9, 2020 - Last Updated on February 12, 2021
Horse racing picture

Welcome back, America.

Shake off that likely infuriating (for a majority of you) Kentucky Derby and start fresh. We are curious who was more incensed: Tiz the Law backers this year or Maximum Security bettors a year ago.

In any case, as always, to keep up on the day-to-day happenings across the country, be sure to visit PlayUSA or any of its sister sites. Of course, we also have our PlayUSA YouTube channel for those who prefer visuals.

Now, on to the Rewind:

Kentucky Derby betting dropped to historic low

There was certainly no shortage of on-the-track action at the 146th Kentucky Derby over the weekend. With Authentic picking up the upset of heavy favorite Tiz the Law, trainer Bob Baffert notched his sixth victory at Churchill Downs to tie the Derby record.

Yet betting action on the race was historically low.

Churchill Downs reported that the public combined for $79.4 million in wagers on the Kentucky Derby, a figure that reflects a massive 52% dropoff from 2019’s record $165.5 million.

Certainly, some of the decline stems from having no fans at the race, which was held outside its regular May slot for the first time since 1945. Over the previous five years, an average of more than $22 million was taken in at the track. Officials with Churchill Downs also attributed the low number to a not-as-favorable favorite (Tiz the Law at 4-5 odds) and fewer horses (15 starters, the smallest field since 1998).

For what it’s worth, as reported by ESPN, just 8% of wagers backed Authentic, who went off at 8-1 odds, while Tiz the Law accounted for 48% of wagers to win the race.

DraftKings ready to play ball at Wrigley Field

It’s difficult to think Wrigley Field needed anything to make going to a Chicago Cubs game more exciting. Well, the historic venue proved us wrong again.

As part of a new deal to make it the official sports betting and daily fantasy sports partner of the Cubs, DraftKings Sportsbook will open a retail space at Wrigley Field, potentially by 2022.

Per Illinois state law, sports teams can integrate brick-and-mortar sports betting and online wagering within five blocks of their venues under a $10 million master license. Stadium capacity must exceed 17,000, and the primary use cannot be in a collegiate capacity. Obviously, Wrigley Field meets those criteria.

Of course, regulatory processes and construction will delay the opening of a Wrigley retail sportsbook. But it’s coming.

DraftKings continues to capitalize in online sports betting in Illinois. After partnering with Casino Queen and launching its mobile sportsbook following a rebranding of the property, DraftKings — and the other two online sportsbooks, BetRivers and FanDuel Sportsbook, live in Illinois — benefits from a decision from Gov. J.B. Pritzker to suspend the requirement for in-person signups until at least Sept. 19.

By the way, the Wrigley news is just one of two noteworthy and Chicago-based items for DraftKings. Michael Jordan just joined the company in an advisory role.

Louisiana DFS launch hits speed bump

The plan was for daily fantasy sports to go live in Louisiana in time for the opening kickoff of the NFL season. Now operators will be lucky to get in half of the season.

According to a timeline provided by Rep. John Stefanski, the newly legal industry in the Pelican State might not launch until November or December.

Initially, the state expected to publish DFS rules by September. But Stefanski indicated they could be completed by August “if all runs smoothly.”

But so many things could occur to push back the DFS launch. Public comments are due by Sept. 10, and the Legislative Oversight Committee has 30 days to review and hold hearings on the rules. Naturally, this step in the process could cause more delays.

Next, gaming regulators in the state would need to adopt and then publish final rules in the State Register. Only then could DFS contests become available in Louisiana.

Fantasy fans have waited more than two years to enjoy legal play in Louisiana. The majority of parishes voted to legalize the industry in 2018, but it wasn’t until this year that it officially cleared the hurdle as the state requires a separate taxation bill.

As close as being legalized DFS seems, the state will still need to wait just a tad longer.

Grant Lucas Avatar
Written by
Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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