Churchill Downs To Launch NJ Sports Betting, Online Casino This Year

Churchill Downs Incorporated will soon be bringing a mobile sports betting  and an online casino to New Jersey.

During the company’s third-quarter report Thursday, CEO Bill Carstanjen said CDI will take its first steps into the NJ sports betting industry before the year runs out.

“We are in the process of obtaining our company and key employee gaming licenses. In addition, our gaming technology partner, SBTech, is in the process of getting their platform licensed. We believe we will be operational in the fourth quarter with the suite of online casino and sports betting products.”

CDI piggybacks on Golden Nugget license

While Carstanjen noted that CDI is “currently pursuing business operations” in several states with legalized sports betting, New Jersey sits atop the company’s list.

In May, CDI reached an agreement with Golden Nugget in Atlantic City to allow the Kentucky-based company to enter the NJ online gambling industry.

At the time of the announcement, CDI targeted launching its product in the first quarter of 2019. Obviously, the company has done well enough to fast-track its plans.

“In New Jersey we’ve entered into what is known as a skins agreement with the Golden Nugget casino to gain access to the New Jersey iGaming and sports wagering market,” Carstanjen said.

“We do not have a casino in New Jersey to enter the market directly but have an arrangement with Golden Nugget, which will allow us full management and control of our own site.”

What exactly the online casino product will include is not clear, but a robust selection including slot machines and tables games is likely.

Joining a powerful Golden Nugget team

The AC casino has long established itself as the premier online casino in New Jersey, frequently finishing atop the Garden State market in terms of revenue.

In September, Golden Nugget reported its second-best month in industry history, a robust $9.28 million that fell just shy of its July report of $9.3 million.

As Golden Nugget continues to excel and expand, the casino welcomes yet another entity to continue boosting numbers.

Said GN senior vice president and general manager, online gaming Thomas Winter at the time of May’s announcement:

“We welcome Churchill Downs, a respected U.S. 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.”

Churchill Downs already operates the largest legal online horse wagering business in the country. Now CDI will use Golden Nugget as its foray into New Jersey.

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CDI enters crowded NJ sports betting market

Should CDI follow through with its expectation to join the online NJ sports betting industry within the next two months, it will be the ninth mobile sportsbook in the Garden State.

A week before entering a partnership with Golden Nugget, Churchill Downs struck a deal with sports betting tech provider SBTech.

The NJ sports betting industry has grown exponentially within the past few months. Online and mobile sportsbooks accepted nearly $105 million in wagers in September, more than $82 million wagered in August, the first month of mobile sports betting in New Jersey.

The mobile market surpassed retail handle, which stood at $79 million in September.

For Golden Nugget, CDI serves as something of a replacement for SugarHouse Sportsbook, which dropped its sports betting partnership with Golden Nugget in October to operate under the Monmouth Park license.

One reason for the jump: Golden Nugget cannot offer bets on NBA games, as owner Tilman Fertitta also owns the Houston Rockets. As a result, when CDI launches its sports betting product, it will not be able to offer NBA action.

About the Author

Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.