Churchill Downs Incorporated has a new gaming partner. On Monday afternoon, the Louisville-based gaming company announced a multi-year deal with bet365 that gives the British-based online gaming operator market access in Pennsylvania.
The agreement gives bet365 access to online sports betting and iGaming in the Keystone State through Churchill’s Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie.
The news comes a week after bet365 formally launched its sports betting app in Ohio, where it received market access through a partnership with the Cleveland Guardians.
“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,” a bet365 spokesperson said in a statement provided by Churchill Downs.
The deal between Churchill and bet365 is contingent on approvals from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
While bet365 is the world’s largest sports betting operator, with annual revenues approaching $4 billion and a customer base of 88 million in more than 160 countries, its presence in the US is somewhat small. Besides Ohio, bet365 is also in New Jersey and Colorado.
In New Jersey, bet365 also offers iGaming. The operator also is licensed in Ontario for iGaming and sports betting.
Bet365, in November, signed a deal with Raynham Park for rights to a sports betting license in Massachusetts, pending regulatory approvals.
Online Gaming Big in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is a major market for sports betting and iGaming, also known as online casino gaming.
With a population of 12.8 million, Pennsylvania is the fifth most populous state in the country and the largest state that allows iGaming. It’s the second-largest online sports betting market behind New York.
In October and November, the state reported sports betting handles approaching $800 million, with more than $730 million each month wagered online.
The state’s iGaming market is also highly lucrative. In November, bettors wagered more than $4.7 billion on online slots and table games.
Churchill Exiting Online Sports Betting
Pennsylvania is one of the last states – Arizona being the other – where Churchill Downs offers online gaming through its TwinSpires brand.
Last February, Churchill Downs officials announced plans to exit the online sports betting and iGaming market. In a quarterly conference call with investment analysts, CEO Bill Carstanjen said the company did not see a “secure path” to profitability in online gaming. He added operators are pursuing “maximum market share in every state with limited regard for short-term or potentially even long-term profitability” as the reason for Churchill Downs’ decision.
We are pleased to partner with a global leader in the online gaming industry,” Carstanjen said in a statement Monday. “Our relationship with bet365 enables us to maximize the value of our company’s sports betting and iGaming market access in Pennsylvania.”
While Churchill Downs is looking to exit online sports betting and iGaming, the company does plan to continue operating retail sportsbooks.
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