Churchill Downs is about to make a big splash in the legal and regulated online gambling and sports betting markets in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The Louisville, Kentucky racing and gaming giant, best known as owner and operator of The Kentucky Derby, announced its entry into the markets this week through a pair of partnership agreements.

First, Churchill Downs inked a strategic partnership agreement with SBTech to use SBTech’s integrated technology platform for both its online gambling and sports betting operations.

According to a press release from Churchill Downs, SBTech will provide the company with an online gaming and sports betting software platform. This includes a website, mobile apps, and back-office systems.

Churchill Downs says the partnership is initially intended to enable it to enter online gambling and sports betting markets in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Both states have already approved online gambling and sports betting.

Pennsylvania is in the middle of setting up the regulatory framework for both markets.

New Jersey has had legal and regulated online gambling since 2013. It is currently setting up regulations for its sports betting market. New Jersey is expected to be the first new state to accept legal sports bets. This following the US Supreme Court decision this week repealing a federal ban on sports betting.

Of course, Churchill Downs is already in the online gambling sphere. However, it’s online horse race wagering site will continue to run separately from its new SBTech sites.

Churchill Downs in PA

Churchill Downs announced in March it planned to purchase Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie with an eye on the burgeoning PA online gambling market. In fact, Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said the reason it acquired Presque Isle was to get a foothold in Pennsylvania where online gambling legislation just passed.

Presque Isle Downs & Casino features:

  • 1,600 slots
  • 32 table games
  • A poker room
  • Thoroughbred racing on 100 dates annually

Currently, only the 13 PA casino license holders can apply for online gambling licenses in the state. Licenses are being made available in three categories including online slots, online table games, and online poker.

Churchill Downs and Golden Nugget Atlantic City

In New Jersey, Churchill Downs has also inked an agreement with Golden Nugget Atlantic City. It plans to enter into the NJ online gambling and sports betting markets under Golden Nugget’s license. Churchill Downs is awaiting new sports betting legislation and online gambling license approval in the state first. However, it is planning to launch both operations in the first quarter of 2019.

Carstanjen said Churchill Downs is eagerly anticipating entry into both NJ markets:

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

Online gambling has already been a huge success for Golden Nugget Atlantic City. It’s own online casino site has the largest selection of games in the market. Plus, the Betfair and PlaySugarHouse NJ online casino sites run under its license. Together, the Golden Nugget site are the runaway revenue leader in NJ online gambling. In fact, they are pulling in more than $7 million a month.

Golden Nugget’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Online Gaming Thomas Winter welcomed Churchill Downs aboard:

“We welcome Churchill Downs, a respected US gaming operator with online wagering experience, to New Jersey. The addition of their offering will allow Golden Nugget Atlantic City to cater to an even larger demographic of New Jersey online players.”