Bettors wager $74.9m on 2020 Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs Incorporated has revealed that betting activity on the Kentucky Derby slumped this year.

According to Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), a total of $79.4m was wagered on the 2020 Kentucky Derby, down 52% on the $165.5m wagered on the event in 2019.

Betting activity on the 2020 Kentucky Derby drops

CDI revealed that bettors staked a total of $126m on the 2020 Kentucky Derby Day program across all sources. This marks a significant drop on the $250.9m wagered on the 2019 Kentucky Derby Day Program. 

CDI attributed the decline in betting handle on the 2020 racing program to a lack of on-track betting, fewer horses per race and a “prohibitive favourite in the Derby race.”

In late-August, CDI announced that the 2020 Kentucky Derby would be held behind closed doors without a fan presence. Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), the organiser of the event, said it initially planned to allow a limited crowd to attend the 146th Kentucky Derby but made the decision to hold it behind closed doors due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

CDI had already rescheduled the event from May due to health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Normally, the event attracts a crowd of around 150,000 people and had never been held without spectators.

In its statement, CDI said: “Although it is difficult to compare the financial performance to prior years, we are pleased with the profitability of the spectator-less 2020 Derby Week.”

Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI, said: “We are grateful to our fans and our community for their support of the 146th Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby. We look forward to seeing our loyal fans at next year’s 147th Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby on the first weekend of May.”

CDI reports revenue decline in H1

In July, CDI posted a year-on-year decline in revenue and a net loss for the first half of 2020. 

According to CDI’s report, the operator generated $438m in H1 revenue, down 41% year-on-year, as well as a loss of $142.2m in H1 2020.

The operator chalked this up to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the postponement of the Kentucky Derby and the closure of land-based casinos across the US.

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