Recession Having Little Affect on Kentucky Derby Online Gambling

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

Bloomberg News was reporting on Friday that Kentucky Derby betting may fall 30 percent as the worst economy in a generation hits Louisville.  Not so with online gambling as was seeing traffic greater than last year.

"We are definitely seeing more inquiries for betting on the Kentucky Derby and our online gambling sponsors are enjoying brisk business," claims Payton O'Brien, Senior Editor of the website.  "Assuming this holds up through the day on Saturday, Web gambling on the 2009 Kentucky Derby will set records."

Last year's Kentucky Derby was the most trafficked day at the website.  It nudged out the Super Bowl by a few hundred hits.

But Bloomberg was pointing to the Louisville occupancy rates in its gloomy assessment. 

With hotel occupancy down 15 percent, the 135th Derby is unlikely to contribute the estimated $70 million to the local economy it usually generates, tourism officials said. Betting on the race, in which I Want Revenge is a 3-1 favorite, may slump by almost a third, Las Vegas oddsmakers said.

"This is a unique circumstance," said Jim Wood, president and chief executive officer of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Usually we're filled to the rafters with Derby guests."

Las Vegas oddsmakers were going by their own business, which has been hit hard by the recession.  Likewise, Churchill Downs takes bets locally via its Twin Spires website.

Rising unemployment and job insecurity, a lack of available credit, falling property values and declines in retirement savings and other investments have prompted people to reduce spending. Companies are also paring spending on entertainment, Bloomberg reports.

Overall gambling is expected to fall short of the $114.6 million wagered on last year's Derby.

Because online gambling establishments no longer report numbers, it will be difficult to determine the final results.  Based on traffic thus far, the assumption is that business will be more brisk than ever before however.

The online gambling establishments have not been adversely affected by the recession to date.  Publicly traded Web betting firms in the UK are releasing stellar first quarter figures in fact.

Christopher Costigan, Publisher        

Business/Financial News

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