New Downtown Las Vegas Sportsbooks Won’t Show Daily Horse Racing

Written By Marc Meltzer | Last Updated
Sportsbooks horse racing
Derek Stevens recently announced that he’s submitted paperwork with the Nevada Gaming Control Board to start taking sports bets at The D, Golden Gate, and his soon to be built 18 Fremont casinos. William Hill currently operates The D sportsbook while the Golden Gate offers guests a William Hill kiosk. TheLines sat down with Stevens to discuss the new sportsbooks. He expects to receive regulatory approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board in the second quarter (April, May, June) of 2019. Shortly after receiving approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the Golden Gate casino will open a new sportsbook and begin taking bets on sports. A few days later The D sportsbook will begin taking bets on sports. Our biggest takeaway from talking to Stevens: The Golden Gate and The D sportsbooks will no longer take bets on daily horse races.

Horses leaving Downtown Las Vegas

The changes mean that when 18 Fremont opens in 2020, 25% (three of 12) of casinos in downtown Las Vegas will not show horse racing daily. Stevens says his casinos will still book action on the bigger races like the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders Cup but they will not offer horse racing in any of his three sportsbooks on a daily basis. Downtown Las Vegas is sometimes seen as a part of Las Vegas where older tourists migrate when the Vegas Strip skews a little too young. On the surface, casinos that cater to tourists no longer showing horse races continues a trend that we’ve seen on the Vegas Strip. In the past two years of sportsbook openings, The Cromwell, Park MGM, and The Linq sportsbooks are not showing daily horse racing in their sportsbooks. The horse racing section at the Cosmopolitan still operates but features sports when there are big games.

Why dump the ponies in Downtown Vegas?

Stevens says the decision comes down customer demand. While guests love to watch the big horse races because they’re events, there isn’t enough demand to show and take wagers on every race, every day. We talked a little bit about the history of horse bettors and sports bettors. There was a time when these gamblers were the same individual bettor. The sports and horse betting customer over the years. The majority of sports bettors no bet on the horses. Times change and so do casino guests. If customers are only wagering significantly on horse racing four or five days a year, it’s difficult to justify keeping the horse races because that’s the way it has always been.

New Downtown Las Vegas sportsbooks

If all goes as planned, the new sportsbook at the Golden Gate casino should be open sometime in the second quarter of 2019. Stevens says he will refresh the sportsbook at The D with eyes on a new sportsbook down the line. Construction is just getting beginning on 18 Fremont and its multi-level sportsbook. The plan is to have that casino open with the world’s largest sportsbook screen. We should here updates on progress throughout 2019.