Ever since sports wagering became an option for states beyond Nevada to legalize in 2018, industry observers have been predicting that bettors would eventually be able to wager on horse racing and sports like football and basketball side-by-side through a single account. It just made too much sense for all of the involved parties — especially the parimutuel horse racing industry, which had to have been suffering from a palpable fear of getting nudged into the dust bin by the widespread availability of gambling on sports with simpler odds and broader popularity.
On Wednesday, this objective was achieved, with FanDuel announcing that, after a successful soft launch, it had become the first U.S. sportsbook to offer parimutuel horse wagering and traditional sports betting through a single account. According to a press release, the merged wallet feature is currently available to FanDuel customers in New York, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, West Virginia, Wyoming, Michigan, Colorado, and Virginia, with plans to expand to additional states early next year.
Prior to the announcement, FanDuel Sportsbook customers had to open a separate account at either FanDuel Racing or TVG, which FanDuel owns. FanDuel’s September rebranding of the horse-focused TVG Network to the multi-sport FanDuel TV was a sure sign that similar synergy on the betting side was right around the corner, a notion bolstered by FanDuel’s nearly simultaneous announcement that it had entered into a data and content sharing partnership with Churchill Downs Inc.
“Horse racing is a big part of our DNA,” FanDuel CEO Amy Howe said in Wednesday’s release. “This is a significant opportunity to expose a broader, engaged audience to the sport in a familiar environment.”
The race for place
It’s hardly surprising that FanDuel, the industry leader, is the first sportsbook to offer a shared wallet for sports and horse betting. But it almost certainly won’t be the last.
Caesars and BetMGM have both partnered with NYRA Bets to launch separate advance deposit wagering (ADW) platforms in multiple states, while DraftKings plans to debut a stand-alone horse betting platform, DK Horse, through a deal with Churchill Downs ahead of next May’s Kentucky Derby.
Among smaller mobile sportsbooks, PlayUp has launched its own racing ADW, while PointsBet will soon do the same with an assist from 1/ST. And while the Daily Racing Form’s DRF Sportsbook is currently only live in one state (Iowa), its ADW, DRF Bets, is widely available, making the potential for fusion quite natural.
Photo: Arden Barnes/USA TODAY