Churchill Downs Ditching Sports Betting, Closing TwinSpires Sportsbook

Churchill Downs is getting out of the online sports betting game. The company announced Thursday that it will be closing the digital doors on TwinSpires Sportsbook.

The struggling sportsbook may be on its way out of Indiana, but Churchill will be keeping the brand alive for online horse race betting. Churchill will also have a presence in the Hoosier State for years to come with its new casino.

TwinSpires struggles

Churchill has never been one of the top players in the Indiana sports betting market.

BetAmerica was the sportsbook’s original name.

The company started taking bets in the state back in December 2019. It was the fourth online betting app to start taking wagers in Indiana.

Despite the early market access, BetAmerica never managed to grab a foothold in the minds of Hoosier gamblers. The sportsbook routinely struggled to scrape the bottom of the barrel when it came to popularity.

But this wasn’t purely an Indiana issue for Churchill. BetAmerica was also struggling in its other markets around the country.

That led to a big rebrand. BetAmerica became TwinSpires, and Churchill finally had the second chance that it needed with sports bettors.

Only, the company struggled to make the most of that change, too.

As of January 2022, TwinSpires was one of Indiana’s least popular online sportsbooks. The company only handled $1.6 million worth of bets throughout the month.

Compare that to some of the top dogs, and it’s easy to see why TwinSpires is calling it quits.

For example, DraftKings took in nearly $160 million of wagers during January. Even the middle-tier sportsbooks typically handle somewhere between $10 million and $20 million in a single month.

Churchill Downs Indiana Casino

Churchill is leaving the sports betting arena, but it won’t be ditching Indiana entirely.

The company is building a brand-new casino in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Queen of Terre Haute” won’t open for business until 2023, but once it does, it will secure the Indiana revenue that Churchill has always wanted. Casinos are far more profitable than any sportsbook.

Rising Star Casino, the retail partner for TwinSpires, has only made $3 million in sports betting revenue since wagering began back in 2019.

Rising Star is Indiana’s worst-performing property when it comes to traditional casino games, but it still managed to pull in over $2.2 million of adjusted gross revenue last month.

In other words, in two months, traditional gaming brings Rising Star more money than sports betting has in over two years.

Queen of Terre Haute is also in a better location, so it will likely outperform Rising Star once it opens for business.

Some Indiana casinos make over $20 million in revenue per month, so those numbers will easily start to lap the lifetime TwinSpires haul for Churchill.

Shifting out of the sports betting business is likely a good move for Chruchill since it hasn’t been seeing results. At the very least, the company will still be a big part of gaming in Indiana once Queen of Terre Haute opens.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for Play Indiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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