Market Overview

The Real Winner Of The Kentucky Derby

The Real Winner Of The Kentucky Derby

Casino investors know that the house is always the winner. While Always Dreaming took home the trophy from this year’s Kentucky Derby on Saturday, Churchill Downs, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHDN) was the big winner. The Churchill Downs track represented about 9 percent of Churchill Downs’ total revenue last year, with the Derby by far the single biggest event.

A resurgence in the popularity of horse racing after American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015 coupled with a rise in casino and online gambling revenue has pushed Churchill Downs shares higher by 29.5 percent in the past year.

Gamblers reportedly wagered a total of $207.5 million on this year’s Derby, a new all-time record. The reported attendance was 158,070, well short of the record attendance of 170,513 back in 2015. Attendance was likely hurt by the seasonably cold and rainy weather.

Related Link: Las Vegas Strip Revenue Up 7.8% In March

While the weather may have kept fans from the racetrack, it certainly didn’t keep people from tuning in at home.

Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA)’s NBC reported its highest overnight Derby ratings in 25 years, a 12 percent jump from last year. In addition, NBC reported 281,000 unique streaming viewers as well, a 25 percent jump compared to last year.

Both numbers are good news for leading Derby sponsor Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM). In addition to Yum, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NYSE: FCAU)’s Dodge Ram and PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP) were other major sponsors of this year’s event.

In 2016, Churchill Downs reported $268.1 million in racing revenue, $332.8 million in casino revenue, $221.9 million in revenue from online horse race gambling site TwinSpires and $486.2 million in revenue from online and mobile gaming company Big Fish Games.

Image: Ken Lund, Flickr


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