Churchill Downs Consolidates Online Race Betting Services

28 November 2007

Kentucky-based racetrack operator Churchill Downs Inc. has merged its three account-based wagering Web sites into one.

Churchill Downs bought, and just before the Kentucky Derby in May 2007. The acquisitions gave the group entry into the account-based wagering market, which was widened by last year's Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. All Web-based wagering at Churchill Downs is now done at its own site,

While the UIGEA banned Internet gambling in the United States, it included a provision protecting activities allowed under the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 (amended in 2000).

Churchill Downs initially chose to operate the sites as separate brands to avoid disruption to customers, but later decided to merge the sites under one brand for online wagering.

"From the beginning, we knew that in order to grow this business and to compete, the TwinSpires brand was the best long-term brand for our company," said Vernon Niven, president of and a Churchill executive vice president.

The move comes on the heels of company reports that its advance-deposit wagering business has done better that expected in the third quarter and would increase earnings per share in 2007.

The company previously believed it would not boost earnings until next year, Chief Executive Officer Bob Evans said.