Our relationship with bet365 enables us to maximize the value of our company’s sports betting and iGaming market access in Pennsylvania. Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) announced that it has entered into an agreement to grant market access for online casino gaming and sports betting in Pennsylvania to UK-based bet365.
The move by CDI had been anticipated since February 2022, when CEO William Carstanjen said the company planned to shut down its TwinSpires brand online casino and sportsbook to exclusively focus on horse racing. Carstanjen also called for monetizing CDI’s market access rights across several states, including Pennsylvania.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. On Monday, CDI said the partnership between its Presque Isle Downs & Casino and bet365’s US subsidiary was a “multi-year agreement” but did not identify a target date for when bet365 would replace TwinSpires.
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CDI said the agreement “is consistent with CDI’s strategy to exit the online sports and casino business, monetize the company’s online sports and iGaming market access rights, and remain focused on growing the TwinSpires online horseracing wagering business.”
Carstanjen concurred. “We are pleased to partner with a global leader in the online gaming industry,” he said. “Our relationship with bet365 enables us to maximize the value of our company’s sports betting and iGaming market access in Pennsylvania.”
TwinSpires Casino PA and TwinSpires Sportsbook PA are both live and continue to accept wagers. TwinSpires also continues to accept online sports wagers in Arizona.
Since April 2022, CDI has shut down TwinSpires’ online sportsbooks in Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Tennessee. The company also scuttled plans to launch an online sportsbook in Louisiana.
Bet365 Not On Regulator’s Radar, Yet
A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) told Pennsylvania Gaming Review on Tuesday that bet365 had not yet submitted an application for either online casino gaming or sports betting.
The UK-based brand was not listed among the six online casino operators that PGCB disclosed in October had already started the licensure process. In a report a few weeks earlier, the regulator estimated that 10 additional online casinos would be live by June 30, 2023.
Pennsylvania currently has 18 online casinos, including TwinSpires Casino PA. Each is tied to a land-based casino property.
PGCB recently reopened the process for out-of-state operators to apply for an online poker or casino gaming license. The regulator is authorized to issue 12 standalone licenses to so-called Qualified Gaming Entities (QGEs). Each license costs $4 million. The application window closes on March 3.
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PA is bet365’s Fifth Market in North America
For its part, bet365 still isn’t well known in the US. But it’s been adding markets as of late.
The brand soft-launched in New Jersey in August 2019. Last year, bet365 launched online sports betting in Ontario in April and Colorado in September. It was one of several operators to launch sports betting in Ohio on New Year’s Day — through a partnership with MLB’s Cleveland Guardians.
To date in North America, bet365 offers online casino in New Jersey and Ontario and sports betting in those two jurisdictions, plus Colorado and Ohio.
A spokesperson for bet365 said the company was “thrilled” to announce its partnership with CDI in Pennsylvania “off the heels of our launch in Ohio.
“Once live, the world’s favorite online sports betting brand will be available to sports fans in Pennsylvania, offering fantastic site features, including Bet Boosts, Same Game Parlay, Cash Out, and Edit Bet, on top of our market-leading sign-up offer.”