Churchill Downs eyes sports betting in three states following co - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Churchill Downs eyes sports betting in three states following court ruling

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New security measures will be in place at Churchill Downs during Derby week. New security measures will be in place at Churchill Downs during Derby week.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Two days after a pivotal Supreme Court decision, Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. announced plans to offer sports betting in casinos and through online channels in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Mississippi.

Investors are bidding up Churchill Downs’ stock in hopes the company can capitalize on the high court’s ruling clearing the way for states to legalize sports betting. Until Tuesday’s decision, only Nevada had permission under federal law to offer legal sports betting.

“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 (real money online gaming)  and sports betting market,” Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said in a news release.

Churchill Downs said it hopes to begin accepting wagers in New Jersey in early 2019 through an agreement with Golden Nugget Atlantic City.

The company is also seeking iGaming licenses as part of its pending deal to buy Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie, Pennsylvania. Churchill also expects to offer in-person sports betting at its two casinos in Greenville and Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Churchill said it has turned to SBTech to provide its iGaming and sports betting platform, including a website, mobile apps and back office systems.

Churchill already owns the country’s biggest platform for online wagering in horse racing, TwinSpires.com.

While Churchill pursues business opportunities around the country, some Kentucky lawmakers have called on the state the legalize sports betting as a way of generating tax revenue to help the state’s underfunded pension plans for government employees.

Gov. Matt Bevin said Monday that it’s “way too early” to say if he would support a wagering bill in the state, but he would not rule it out.

Bevin has taken a stronger stance against allowing casino gambling in the state.

The state legislature failed to pass expanded gambling bills over the years, including during the session that ended in April. Despite having bipartisan support, measures to legalize sports betting and casinos died in committees.

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Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2018 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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