Churchill Downs Inks Partnerships With SBTech And Golden Nugget

Written By Kim Yuhl on May 18, 2018 - Last Updated on December 11, 2023
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Earlier this year, Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) announced it was buying Presque Isle Downs & Casino.

Purchasing the Erie, Pennsylvania casino, gave CDI entry into the expanding Pennsylvania gaming market. It also gave them entry into the future online gambling market in PA which is expected to launch in the state later this year.

At the time of the announcement, Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI said this of the purchase:

“Presque Isle will give us a foothold in Pennsylvania which has recently passed legislation authorizing real money online gaming.”

The statement, made three months ago, appears to set the stage for two strategic partnerships CDI made this week.

Monday’s Supreme Court decision opened the door for legalized sports betting across the nation. Following the news, Churchill Downs has been busy expanding its reach to secure its place in the market as it gets ready to explode.

Churchill Downs partners with SBTech

In addition to its newly acquired Pennsylvania casino, Churchill Downs owns racetracks and casinos in several other states:

  • Kentucky
  • Mississipi
  • Illinois
  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • Ohio
  • Maine

It has been offering horse betting in those states via its mobile app,

This week, CDI and SBTech finalized a partnership to expand its online betting offerings. The agreement will give SBTech entry into the U.S. market and give CDI a comprehensive iGaming platform.

The platform, “consisting of the consumer website, mobile apps, and back-office systems to manage iGaming and sports wagering” will expedite CDI’s entry into markets as sports betting laws allow.

“We are thrilled to have Churchill Downs as our first U.S. partner,” said Richard Carter, CEO of SBTech 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.”

Churchill Downs partners with Golden Nugget in New Jersey

Also this week, Churchill Downs confirmed it plans to offer online gaming in New Jersey under Golden Nugget‘s casino license.

It is necessary to have a land-based casino presence to enter the online gambling market in the Garden State. The state’s gambling laws allow for casinos to sub-lease licenses to partners.

This partnership has the potential to expand the presence of both companies in markets they would not be able to enter otherwise.

“We are looking forward to offering integrated iGaming and sports betting products in New Jersey,” said Carstanjen. “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.”

Sports betting and online gambling environments are changing daily

Since the Supreme Court lifted the ban on sports betting this week, the news has been fast and furious in the gaming space. Forging strategic partnerships will allow casinos to launch online gambling products faster. It also gives foreign companies entry into an evolving and growing U.S. sports betting and online gaming market.

The relationships Churchill Downs forged this week positions them to enter the New Jersey market as soon as this summer. Lawmakers in the state are hoping to have legislation on the books at the beginning of June.

Mississipi is another state where CDI is ready to accept sports wagers. The Mississippi Gaming Commission told Legal Sports Report to expect sports betting to launch late-summer.

Pennsylvania may be the feather in CDI’s cap, though. Pennsylvania has the sixth-largest population in the country. It also is about to launch several new forms of gambling, thanks to expansion bill passed last year.

With a land-based casino presence and a comprehensive gaming platform provider, Churchill Downs is ready to capitalize when online gaming and sports betting goes live in the Keystone State.

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Kim Yuhl

Kim Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about poker culture and the online gambling industry. A part-time member of the poker media since 2013, Kim recently sold her marketing business to write full-time while traveling around the world. You can learn more about her work and travels at

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