International edition
May 24, 2018 | Edition Nº3491

Partnered with SBTech

Churchill Downs to embark in online gaming and sports betting markets

Churchill Downs to embark in online gaming and sports betting markets
Churchill Downs, which hosts "The Kentucky Derby" horse race, also announced it has entered into a partnership with SBTech to use SBTech's technology platform for its iGaming and sports betting operations.
United States | 05/17/2018

The company announced on Tuesday it is entering the real-month online gaming and sports betting markets, on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling this week that paved the way for legalized sports betting around the country.

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hurchill Downs, which hosts "The Kentucky Derby" horse race, also announced an agreement with Golden Nugget Atlantic City to enter into the New Jersey sports betting and real money (iGaming) online gaming markets. It has also entered into a partnership with SBTech to use the London-based company's technology platform for its iGaming and sports betting operations, Market Watch reports. The agreement with SBTech represents the first deal between a European platform provider and a U.S. multi-jurisdictional racing and gaming operator since the decision.

"We are looking forward to offering integrated iGaming and sports betting products in New Jersey," Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said in a statement. "We have the unique opportunity to leverage our knowledge and experience operating the largest legal online horse racing wagering business in the U.S. as we enter the iGaming and sports betting markets."

"We are confident that our strategic partnership with SBTech provides us with an industry leading platform to offer innovative and exciting, integrated iGaming and sports betting products," he added.

"We are thrilled to have Churchill Downs as our first U.S. partner," SBTech CEO Richard Carter said in a statement. "The combination of Churchill's leading presence in the U.S. market, coupled with SBTech's deep expertise in regulated sports betting markets globally, makes for an ideal partnership as we enter this monumental chapter in the U.S. gaming industry."

The deal also enables Churchill Downs to enter sports betting markets in Pennsylvania and Mississippi. In February, the company announced that it entered into definitive purchase agreements to acquire Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Lady Luck Casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Churchill Downs' and SBTech's entry into the states are also subject to gaming license approvals and the finalization of iGaming and sports betting regulations, according to the release.

The deal with the Golden Nugget is subject to sports wagering legislation and gaming license approvals, Churchill Downs said in a statement. Churchill Downs, which has a market cap in excess of $4 billion, intends to begin accepting legal wagers for sports betting and iGaming in New Jersey by the first quarter of 2019, Forbes Magazine reports.

"We welcome Churchill Downs, a respected U.S. gaming operator with online wagering experience, to New Jersey,” said Thomas Winter, senior vice president and general manager for Landry's Golden Nugget online division. "The addition of their offering will allow Golden Nugget Atlantic City to cater to an even larger demographic of New Jersey online players."

In the immediate aftermath of Monday's decision, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie told WFAN 660 AM that he expects Monmouth Park to offer sports gambling as early as Memorial Day weekend.

Six years ago, Christie signed a bill into law that allowed sports gambling at casinos and racetracks throughout the state. Several major professional sports leagues and the NCAA responded by suing the former governor, delaying the state's bid to offer sports betting.

In December, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Christie v. NCAA, New Jersey's challenge to a 1992 federal law that effectively prohibited sports betting in the majority of U.S. states. In Monday's 6-3 decision, the Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), potentially allowing individual states to legalize sports gambling.

Over the last year, Churchill Downs has invested roughly $70 million in infrastructure projects designed to modernize the historic racetrack built in 1875. Once the renovations are complete, the facility plans to have 36 new private suites and an additional 700 premium seats.

Churchill Downs' stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has rallied 6.7% this week after the Supreme Court ruling, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.41% has slipped 0.6%.

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