Churchill Downs Inc. announced on Wednesday that it is jumping into sports betting in at least three states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Mississippi.
The move comes two days after a Supreme Court decision struck down a federal ban on sports betting in a case brought by a New Jersey racetrack which hopes to start taking sports bets in two weeks.
An agreement with Golden Nugget Atlantic City will allow Churchill Downs to launch both sports betting and real money online gambling in New Jersey as early as the first quarter of 2019, according to the company.
“We are looking forward to offering integrated iGaming and sports betting products in New Jersey,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs. “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.”
The Louisville-based casino and horse racing company already has the online infrastructure with TwinSpires.com, its online account wagering platform. That will be expanded with a strategic partnership with SBTech to provide an iGaming platform, including the consumer website, mobile apps and back office systems to manage the online gambling and sports betting under the TwinSpires.com brand.
Churchill Downs also plans to launch iGaming and sports betting in Pennsylvania, which also has already approved it, and to launch sports betting in Mississippi.
Churchill also has casino interests in Pennsylvania and in Mississippi. In February, Churchill announced plans to buy Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie, Pa., from Eldorado Resorts, including potential iGaming licensing. In Mississippi, Churchill has two existing casinos that can offer on-site sports betting.
The gambling expansions will be subject to licensing by individual states, which also must finalize betting regulations.
"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," Carstanjen said. "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."
Since the announcement of the Supreme Court decision on Monday, Churchill Downs shares have risen more than 10 percent and are expected to close in record territory on Wednesday.