Churchill Downs to Relabel BetAmerica Sportsbook, iGaming Under TwinSpires Brand

Posted on: January 5, 2021, 05:35h.

Last updated on: January 5, 2021, 06:07h.

BetAmerica, the sportsbook owned by Churchill Downs Inc., will soon be no more. The Louisville-based gaming company announced it will rebrand the sports betting operation under a more familiar name.

Churchill Downs TwinSpires
Churchill Downs TwinSpires
The Twin Spires at Churchill Downs stand aglow on a spring night in 2020. On Tuesday, Churchill Downs Inc. announced it would rebrand its sportsbook and iGaming operations under the TwinSpires brand. (Image: Churchill Downs/Facebook)

Beginning later this month, the sportsbook will be labeled TwinSpires, tying it to CDI’s highly successful online horse racing wagering platform. The new name will launch first in Michigan, pending state regulatory approval. Churchill Downs has an agreement with the Hannahville Tribe in that state to operate sports betting and iGaming.

By the end of June, the transition from BetAmerica to TwinSpires will likely take place in other jurisdictions where Churchill Downs operates both sportsbooks and online casino gaming.

The move had been expected, as company executives have talked about aligning all online operations under the brand that references the signature landmarks of the company’s namesake track.

“Pursuing a single brand strategy allows us to maintain focus on integrating our horse racing wagering platform alongside our sports betting and iGaming business, which will provide our players with the ultimate online and mobile betting experience,” said Ian Williams, the company’s president for online gaming, in a statement.

When the transition is complete, customers will be able to go to TwinSpires.com to access either the racebook, the sportsbooks, or the online casino. That’s similar to FanDuel and DraftKings, which allow its users to access both daily fantasy and sports betting from the same site.

That being said, customers will only be able to wager on what’s legal in a certain state. So, Kentuckians will only be able to bet on TwinSpires racing, while in Indiana, people there could wager on sports.

While bettors will be able to access both racing and sports betting from the same URL, a spokesperson for TwinSpires tells Casino.org they will need separate wallets for each.

CDI Leveraging a Recognized Brand

When it comes to online betting, regardless of whether it’s for horse racing, sports betting, or iGaming, two brands may not be more diametrically opposite than TwinSpires and BetAmerica.

According to data from the Oregon Racing Commission, which tracks racing handles nationwide, TwinSpires has been the leading advanced-deposit wagering operation in racing every year since 2013. In 2019, it reported nearly $1.9 billion in bets.

BetAmerica, on the other hand, has struggled to attract customers. In Pennsylvania, according to the state’s Gaming Control Board, BetAmerica has reported a total handle of about $41.3 million. That represents roughly .9 percent of the state’s $4.5 billion handle since July 2019.

In Indiana, BetAmerica’s online and retail sportsbook reported a total handle of less than $1.2 million, or about .12 percent of the $962.2 million bet in fiscal year 2020, according to the state’s gaming commission.

Since July 2020, BetAmerica has reported a handle of slightly more than $935,000, or .1 percent of the $929.6 million bet over that time.

On the company’s third quarter earnings call with analysts, Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen called its sportsbook and iGaming operations “a drag” on earnings. He then mentioned to them the company’s long-term plans to integrate those with TwinSpires.

Churchill officials are hoping its horse racing bettors will make the move to sports betting in a similar fashion as daily fantasy players did for DraftKings and FanDuel.

We have some advantages with TwinSpires, in that we have a longstanding online business with great customers in many jurisdictions to be opened up,” Carstanjen said on the Oct. 29 call. “And that’s a big advantage for us. We also are a company that’s recognized in the gambling space among the casual consumers.”

A spokesman told Casino.org that TwinSpires does not reveal the number of customers it has.

Rebrand to Coincide with Platform Move

The rebranding is the second major move Churchill Downs has made with its sportsbook and iGaming operations in the past six months.

In late August, the company announced it would switch technology platform providers, moving from SBTech to GAN Limited and Kambi Group PLC. That came after SBTech suffered a cyberattack that caused BetAmerica to be down for three weeks in the spring.

In the company’s release Tuesday, officials confirmed TwinSpires will use GAN and Kambi for sports betting and iGaming while keeping its internally developed system for online pari-mutuel horse racing.

“We remain focused on building a profitable sports betting and iGaming business that provides our customers with an integrated experience alongside our horse racing wagering platform. The transition to TwinSpires not only generates marketing efficiencies, but also allows us to deliver a more complete overall experience to our growing online wagering customer base,” said CDI President and COO Bill Mudd in a statement.

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