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Online operations good for Churchill Downs

The annual shareholders' meeting of US horseracing company Churchill Downs produced some interesting numbers this week, illustrating that the company is increasingly reliant on 'alternative' revenues such as online bets, made possible by carve-outs in US federal legislation.

The Thoroughbred Times reports that in 2006 around 90% of the company's earnings came from track betting, but that percentage has shrunk to some 40% now, with more general casino gambling (slots etc) generating 40%, and online betting at TwinSpires.com replacing 20% of the traditional income streams.

Company executives opined that general gambling revenues could even overtake the traditional revenue stream this year thanks to income from casino operations at Calder Race Course and revenues from its Harlow’s casino in Mississippi - and that's despite closures from storm and flood damage earlier this year.

Gaming certainly would surpass racing if gaming is approved for Illinois tracks, which currently awaits only the governor's sign-off. Churchill would add slot machines at Arlington Park as well as its Quad City Downs, currently an off-track betting outlet that could operate as a Standardbred racino if added gaming is approved in the state.

Churchill spokesmen told the Thoroughbred Times that adding slot machines at its Illinois properties would give the company about 5,500 total machines at its properties.

The company presented numbers showing the importance of the company’s diversification, noting that total U.S. racing handle will be down about $4.3-billion this year as compared to 2006. Between 2003-2010 U.S. races in general have seen a 25% decline.

Source: InfoPowa News

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