Lexington, KY has always been the heart of Wildcat country, but it will soon be a Caesars Sportsbook town as well. Caesars Entertainment announced the first market access deal since Kentucky legalized sports betting earlier this year, revealing it will work with both Lexington racetracks, Keeneland and the Red Mile, to bring sports betting to the Bluegrass State.
“Keeneland and Red Mile are iconic horse racing venues with an important legacy in the state of Kentucky,” said Eric Hession, President of Caesars Digital. “Customers in the region have long enjoyed our world-class Caesars destinations and, most recently, our horse racing wagering app, Caesars Racebook. Working with these historic institutions provides an unmatched opportunity to reach sports and racing fans in the state, and we look forward to working with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission as we prepare to launch later this year.”
While the partnership will include VIP and hospitality at both properties, the retail sportsbook will be at Red Mile, which includes a 950-machine Historical Horse Racing facility in addition to its harness racing track. Keeneland, on the other hand, only offers meets twice a year for a month at a time in the spring and the fall.
“Keeneland’s venture with Caesars Sportsbook holds exciting potential and furthers our mission to introduce new audiences to horse racing,” said Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin. “Caesars is a globally respected brand, and we value their commitment to racing and their expertise in sports wagering.”
“At Red Mile Gaming & Racing we are excited to continue introducing this historic harness track to new audiences,” added Red Mile Chief Operating Officer Shannon Cobb. “Opportunities with sports wagering on site, added to live racing, simulcasting, and HHR Games accomplish goals we have worked toward for several years. Our relationships with Keeneland and Caesars in this venture could not be more valued.”
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will need to license and approve Caesars to come into the state before the partnership can move forward. Speculation around potential launch dates in Kentucky has focused on the fall, however, it is worth noting that this is a completely new venture for the Commission. The law does not take effect until June 28 of this year, at which point the commission can publish draft regulations and get the ball rolling.