Kentucky Derby draws crowd, but Churchill Downs cashes in on web, casinos

Kentucky Derby draws crowd, but Churchill Downs cashes in on web, casinos

Article brief provided by Sportico
  • Brendan Coffey and Asli Pelit, Sportico
April 29, 2024 2:46 PM

The Kentucky Derby means much more to Churchill Downs Inc. than just the two most exciting minutes in sports.

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The 150th Run for the Roses, happening Saturday, marks a milestone for the company. After two years of construction, the company is going to showcase its $200 million paddock renovations, its most transformative change at the track. But even though the bourbon drinks and fancy hats probably will be as strong and eye-catching as the new setting, live horse racing is increasingly a minor part of Churchill Downs’ business.

The company, named for the famed racetrack where the Derby takes place, has increasingly focused in recent years on sports betting, online horse wagering and historical horse racing machines, where anonymized races are rerun to meet the betting fervor of casino customers.