Churchill Downs Banking on Online Gaming

Churchill Downs is best known for its famed Kentucky racetrack and majestic spires, but the company is showing signs that it expects online gambling in the U.S. to be a major source of revenue in the future. The company has already purchased an online poker site and had attempted to enter the New Jersey online gambling market.

Though known for its renowned horseracing track, Churchill Downs remains committed to a future in online gaming in the U.S.

The company bought Bluff Media in 2012 saying that it was committed to new business avenues “in the event there is a liberalization of state or federal laws with respect to internet poker in the United States.”

In its first quarter report, Churchill Down officials—despite a $700,000 loss for the quarter—specifically cited online gambling as an area of future growth for the company.

Churchill Downs CEO Bob Evans stressed the commitment in a recent earnings call with reporters and investors. Evans said he believes the U.S. online-gambling market will develop and grow, presenting a “significant opportunity for us and for others as well.

“We plan to be a significant player in that. We’ll continue to make investments at about the current rate, at least through the rest of this year, in building the technology platform.” Evans added.

Churchill Downs spent $1.1 million on its platform in each of the last two quarters. Churchill Downs’ international online gambling sites include online betting on and online real-money bingo at The company made $46.1 million from the sites, according to published reports.

In February, the company filed a lawsuit in Louisville alleging that New Jersey businessman Nicholas Ribis failed to come through with a deal to partner Churchill Downs with the Showboat Atlantic City Hotel and Casino for an online gambling project.

The company says it paid Ribis $2.5 million as a deposit for negotiating the deal—which never went through—and the company then invested $10 million in intellectual property and the employment of more than 20 engineers to develop the platform to be used by Showboat.

Despite the suit, Evans said the company is still seeking a casino partner in New Jersey.