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DraftKings' Kentucky Derby futures suspended in Mississippi

By Ron Flatter  ( 


Las Vegas

The Kentucky Derby futures book that was posted Wednesday by DraftKings at the Scarlet Pearl Casino in D’Iberville, Miss., has been suspended indefinitely, VSiN learned Saturday afternoon.

Johnny Avello, the director of operations for DraftKings Sportsbook, confirmed the shutdown in a text message from New Jersey, where he is running this weekend’s inaugural Sports Betting National Championship.

“Temporarily is the word I’ll use until further clarification,” Avello wrote, adding that he “will elaborate Mon(day) or Tues(day).”

A call to directly to the Scarlet Pearl sportsbook was answered by a supervisor who also confirmed the suspension, but he said he could not comment on the reason why. Sportsbook director Nico Sfanos was not available to speak.

Avello had posted odds for 286 horses at 9 a.m. CST Wednesday, ending a nearly four-month wait for the odds that he had posted like clockwork every autumn in his 13 years at the Wynn Las Vegas. As some 3-year-olds were added from the outset, the odds were shortened on some that attracted early action, including Coliseum and Galilean, each of which went from 125-1 to 75-1. A limit of $20,000 in winnings on any single bet was one of the conditions.

In an interview with VSiN on Wednesday, Avello said that “finally this week I got approval from the Mississippi gaming control board that was OK’d to” open the futures.

A staff member named William at the Southern District office of the Mississippi Gaming Commission returned a call from VSiN and said that “no one on the coast is taking bets on the Kentucky Derby right now, and I don’t know when it’s going to become available.” He referred all follow-up questions to the main office, which will not be open until Monday morning.

Further developments in this story will be posted here at

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