Close menu
Louisville Expecting Record Revenue For The 2024 Kentucky Derby
Mage winning the 2023 Kentucky Derby (Eclipse Sportswire)

Louisville Expecting Record Revenue For The 2024 Kentucky Derby

The city of Louisville expects revenue to top $405 million from the Kentucky Oaks and Derby weekend. This figure is significantly higher than the $3 million increase from Kentucky Derby 149, according to Louisville Tourism

The organization’s president and CEO, Cleo Battle, predicts that 2024 will be a strong year for the event, with the estimated economic impact from Oaks and Derby weekend alone expected to exceed any previous years’ estimations.

Cash Big At The Kentucky Derby With Us

There’s a reason we’re the #1 trusted source for premium racing picks & info.

Despite the economic impact estimates, it is important to note that these figures do not always accurately predict real economic impact. In 2023, Louisville Tourism estimated the economic impact of the Derby and Oaks weekend to be around $360.1 million, but the actual economic impact was a record-breaking $401.9 million. 

Last year, around 256,000 people showed up for Oaks and Derby weekend, with the tourism team anticipating a similar number this year. Much of the $401.9 million economic impact from the Kentucky Derby last year was due to increased attendance and high costs of transportation, lodging, food, retail, and entertainment activities for visitors. Hotel occupancy rates reached 94% during Derby weekend, with the average rate at $764 per night. 

According to Battle, local businesses also benefit from those who do not attend the event but have their own parties and spend money on catering, flowers, landscaping, tent rental, and local retailers. The Derby can be a second holiday season for many businesses, from boutiques to bakeries.

The economic benefits of Churchill Downs extend beyond the track and pour into local businesses and local and state tax revenues, said Thomas Lambert, an assistant professor of economics and equine industry at the University of Louisville. Churchill Downs receives tax incentives for doing business in Kentucky, but these are outweighed by the tax revenue from pari-mutuel wagering and the draw of out-of-town guests to Louisville, as well as employment taxes and other tax revenue the company creates.

On Derby Day alone in 2023, Churchill Downs contributed more than $4.3 million in tax revenue to the state and roughly $1.1 million in tax revenue from Oaks Day. With the addition of Derby City Gaming Hotel on Poplar Level Road and Derby City Gaming Downtown off Fourth Street, contributions from betting to state tax revenue are expected to be even higher this year.

As horse racing is one of the most bet-on sporting events in the world, we can expect companies within the state to bring in a lot of cash which it will benefit from as betting companies are taxed. Of course, sportsbooks from around the country will be offering odds on the races, and sports betting sites in new markets such as North Carolina will have plenty of promos available.

The Kentucky Derby is set to take place on May 4, 2024, and one of the horses to watch will Timberlake, trained by Brad Cox. The horse has earned more than $1 million in career earnings and has won three of its first six career races. However, Timberlake has not seen success in the first two career Grade 1 stakes races, which may affect how people view him when making their wagers,

Timberlake has been given odds of 15-1 to win the 2024 Kentucky Derby, while Sierra Leone, sired by 2017 Breeders’ Cup winner Gun Runner, is the favorite at 6-1, with “all other 3-year-olds” at 5-1. It’s important to take into consideration the horse racing predictions and futures bets from experts before making any picks for the Kentucky Derby.